The politics of victimization continue at Fox News. “The only way to overcome the hatred arrayed against him is to communicate directly to the people,” said host Bill O’Reilly on his Thursday night “Talking Points Memo” segment. The topic was Donald Trump’s inaugural address, which O’Reilly said should be short and explanatory. “If you’re going to knock out a bunch of environmental regulations, specifically say how that will improve the country,” recommends O’Reilly.
Although O’Reilly says he was once skeptical about Trump’s Twitter habits, he has changed his mind. Why? Because Trump is a victim. “Now it’s a necessity because he can expect to be attacked every day,” O’Reilly said. And after playing clips of famous inaugural addresses, O’Reilly proclaimed, “The sad fact is that no matter what Donald Trump says tomorrow in his address, it will not be accepted by those who despise him.”
As always, O’Reilly is brilliant. On one level, after all, these observations are unimpeachable. Trump is indeed attacked by his political enemies. We see it all the time. Yet there’s a critical omission at work here, and one that exculpates Trump himself from his own cynical and nasty presidential campaign. That “hatred arrayed against him” started with him. In his kickoff announcement, if you recall, it was Trump who launched the misanthropy. He called Mexicans “rapists.” From there, he proceeded to scorch the campaign trail with insults, bigotry and general awfulness. There was the John McCain incident, the tweets and invective against Fox News host Megyn Kelly, the racism directed at a U.S.-born judge of Mexican descent, the proposal to ban Muslims entry into the United States and the towering history of sexism.
None of which appears to stick in O’Reilly’s memory. Remember: Trump and O’Reilly have enjoyed many vanilla milkshakes together. And nothing bonds two elderly gentlemen quite like vanilla milkshakes.