Disregard the fact that Donald Trump recently secured the support of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Disregard the fact that after disavowing Duke’s support, Trump, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, received multiple opportunities to again disavow it, and whiffed. Disregard the fact that Trump said that Mexico was sending “rapists” into the United States. Disregard the fact that Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. Disregard all the other bigoted things that Trump has done and said.
Trusted Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly can vouch for him. Speaking on his show Monday night, O’Reilly dismissed this week’s hubbub over Trump’s moment on CNN as a “complete non-story,” a media-manufactured moment. “I’ve spoken with Trump hundreds of times and I’ve never heard him run down anyone because of race. He doesn’t care about that.” This, coming from the guy who heatedly denies any notion of white privilege in the United States.
Instead of addressing the news of the day, O’Reilly put on his analyst hat, praising the deft strategist Donald Trump. “In the beginning of the campaign, Donald Trump did something brilliant. He staked out two essential issues that he knew Republican voters were angry about: the border and the economy,” said O’Reilly.
Later in the night, Fox News host Sean Hannity aired a 20-minute-plus interview with Trump in front of an audience at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Never asked about the Duke stuff. What he did ask was this question, regarding the wall that Trump wants to build: “Will the name Trump be on it?”
“Only if it’s beautiful,” responded Trump.
And in one particularly sweet moment, Trump mentioned his proposal to ban Muslim entry into the United States. Hannity wondered if the folks in the audience supported the ban. After some folks in the audience raised their hands, the host said, “Let’s do it by clapping. People on TV can’t see all of you.” With that, a bunch of people — “almost the whole crowd,” said Hannity — in the audience began clapping for Trump’s idea of banning Muslim entry into the United States. Talk about brilliant: Fox News orchestrated a round of applause for a bigoted and unconstitutional policy proposal.
With this abdication of accountability comes ownership. O’Reilly and Hannity are all in with this fellow.
There’s some hope, however: Fox News host Megyn Kelly did address the matter frontally on her prime-time program.