O'Reilly talks Tucker, Trump, Biden, and Fox News.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, nonpartisan, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

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Before Tucker Carlson, the most consequential news anchor in America was Bill O'Reilly.

Driven by the popularity of his program, Fox News became the most popular television station in America. In 2009, The O'Reilly Factor was the #1 cable news show in America for 106 consecutive weeks, sometimes drawing over 4 million nightly viewers. His positions on national politics regularly dominated the front pages, and his style was fought (and often mocked) by the left, but rarely ignored.

Yet O'Reilly was also fundamentally different from what Tucker Carlson became. He did not — and does not — consider himself a conservative or an ideologue. During his run, he maintained — and still maintains — friendly relationships with liberal contemporaries like Jon Stewart. In 2020, after Donald Trump's election loss, he was one of the few news anchors regularly watched by Trump supporters who was telling them that the election was not stolen.

Today, O'Reilly runs an independent nightly broadcast similar to The O’Reilly Factor. He was ousted from Fox News in 2017 after a New York Times article revealed that he and the network had settled multiple sexual harassment allegations out of court, costing millions of dollars. Advertisers fled when the story broke, and Fox News eventually let O'Reilly go. In previous interviews, he's said he regrets not fighting the accusations.

While his ouster from Fox News may have taken him out of the spotlight for many liberals and progressives in America, he is still a force in the more conservative-minded ecosystem. His new show, No Spin News, is still widely watched and even appears on some cable channels. After O'Reilly interviewed me on his show a couple months ago, hundreds of his viewers signed up for Tangle. In September, when Tucker Carlson interviewed O'Reilly on X, their conversation drew over 22.6 million views.

After I appeared on O'Reilly's show a few times, and after his multiple references to being a Tangle reader, we decided to turn the tables. I reached out to his team to see if he would come on the Tangle podcast. I had a lot of questions for him — I wanted to ask about the 2024 race, the state of media, his relationships with Carlson and Stewart, his ouster from Fox, and I wanted to see if he could say something nice about President Biden, whom he has deemed the second worst president in U.S. history.

He agreed to come on. The conversation was both fascinating and cordial, and while I didn’t get to ask O’Reilly everything I wanted to (he was working on a tight time crunch), I do hope he comes back again.

Below, we've transcribed the interview. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity. As I’ve done in past interviews, I’ve also annotated a few parts with clarifications or corrections. If you’d prefer, you can watch the interview on YouTube here or listen to it as a podcast here.

Isaac Saul: All right, Bill O'Reilly, thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

Bill O'Reilly: Sure, anything I can do to help Tangle.

Isaac Saul: You're a new fan. You've given us a couple of shoutouts. We've got some of your readers on our newsletter platform now, which is interesting. I'd love to start with a little bit of 2024: Where things are at, what you're seeing. You’re obviously still a conservative heavyweight throwing his opinions around in this space. This race looks like it's Trump's, obviously. How do you feel about the presumptive 2024 nominee right now?

Bill O'Reilly: Well, I wouldn't say I'm a conservative because I'm not an ideologue. I try to be a problem solver. I believe that traditional tenets have really served the country well since 1776, with some exceptions, but I don't buy into the progressive far left view. Liberalism is okay, unless you basically are ignoring reality. And the same thing can be said for the conservative crew. I mean, if you're just going to deny that there are solutions to be found on the left, then it doesn't go anywhere. But my job essentially, Isaac, is to present what is actually happening to my listeners and viewers (and we are the most successful independent news agency in the world now), and then give an opinion about how it affects them. It's a very narrow cast, what we do.

So here we are in early February 2024, with the presidential election coming up fast. We've got a big intrusion on the Supreme Court and a big movement to eliminate Donald Trump from the ballot in November. And that is being led by the Justice Department of the United States. There's no question that this prosecution by the special counsel is designed to take Trump off the board. It’s not designed to impose justice or inhibit behavior in the future, it is solely a political act.

And the reason I say that is because you could do this to any president. George W. Bush, for example, after he left office, you could say that he incited torture, and that it was because of him that in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib in Iraq all of these suspected terrorists were roughed up and waterboarded, you’ve got to prosecute that man. 

You can’t do that.

And Trump is basically saying, “Look, I as president believed” — and he did, he absolutely did, I know Trump as well as anybody in the world knows him — “that the election was fraudulent. So I took steps to counter what I believed, and it's my right to do that as president.”

The D.C. Circuit Federal Court said no. They threw it out this week. But if you look at it in a fair way, Trump has a very strong point. If it gets to the Supreme Court, I think Trump may win. They'll reverse the lower federal court in D.C. 

One more point. Trump cannot get a fair trial in the district. Special Counsel Smith knows that. You've got to move that trial to Central Virginia or somewhere he's got at least a shot of getting a jury that doesn't hate his guts. 5% of the electorate in D.C. voted for Trump, 95% did not. You telling me he gets a fair trial there? He does not. All this is very disturbing to me.

Isaac Saul: Okay, I'm glad you went there because I wanted to talk a little bit about the state of some of his legal troubles. So I agree with you on some things and disagree on others. I think the things I agree on are that he can't get a fair trial in D.C. And I agree that there are some political motivations behind parts of this prosecution. Obviously, Jack Smith is trying to speed it up to get it out before the election — some people believe there's justification for that, and plenty of people can frame that as being politically motivated. 

However, I disagree about whether Trump should be liable here. Just to give you a quick analogy, if I believe somebody stole my computer and I break into their apartment to steal it back, but they didn't actually steal my computer, I still just committed a crime by breaking into their apartment and stealing something that didn't belong to me.

So Trump's belief that the election was stolen is not necessarily an excuse for him to commit a crime and doesn't absolve him of any criminal acts if the election wasn't stolen. I'm curious how you think about it in that context. Do you believe that there were things going on in the 2020 election and that he had a right to take some of the actions that he took?

Bill O'Reilly: Well, I'm looking at it from a purely legal point of view. There is no evidence that the election was fraudulent on a mass level. We know that. If there were evidence to that, it would be in the court system and it's not. But remember something: You have to prove in a criminal court, which is what this is with Smith, beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed a crime. 

So what crime is Trump charged with? He's not charged with insurrection; although the media says every day that he is, he isn't. He's charged with a conspiracy. A conspiracy to do what? According to Smith, the conspiracy is to undermine an election and nullify the votes of the American people. [Editor’s note: Smith’s charges against Trump are conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of or an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the rights of voters to have their votes properly counted]

Trump can go in and will go into court and say, “This advisor, this constitutional attorney, this person all told me that I had the power to raise these questions and to raise scenarios of alternate electors under the constitution.” And those people will testify to that.

If you go back to Bush — and remember, Isaac, I'm a historian, the most popular historian in the world. You are talking to him right now. Okay? [Laughs] George W. Bush's defense on torture, which absolutely happened (and he ordered it), was that his advisors told him that it didn't fall under the torture statutes. That was it.  

Nothing was brought against him because it was in his job purview. It's the same exact thing here. Trump's gonna walk in, he's gonna say, “This one, that one, this one, that one, told me that all of this was legal and because I believed it to be true, this is what I did.” There's no way on earth you can convict him. Because if you do convict him, you can convict every subsequent president — like Biden with the open border.

You can convict Biden of dereliction of duty, of failure to uphold his oath to obey the laws of the United States because he has clearly not obeyed them. But Biden's going to go in and tell you, “Oh no, my guys told me I could ignore the asylum situation that was passed by Congress. I didn't have to follow it.” You see what I'm talking about here?

Isaac Saul: Let me ask you maybe a quick counter-hypothetical: Would you prefer that President Biden, that George W. Bush, and that Donald Trump could all be held accountable for actions they took? 

Bill O'Reilly: Absolutely not.

Isaac Saul: So you would rather— 

Bill O’Reilly: Because that creates unbelievable chaos. If you as a president have a threat of after you leave office being criminally prosecuted for decisions you make, we don't have a country anymore.

Isaac Saul: So what's the threshold, or what's the line, that a president could cross and then be criminally prosecuted for actions he took while in office, in your opinion?

Bill O'Reilly: Bribery. If you're in office and you're taking money from somebody and that comes out, then there's no excuse that was part of your job or that you were advised that you could take money. You took the money, you put it in a bank account in the Caymans, they found it, you'd be prosecuted. That's a crime.

If you look at the Smith charges, it's all about conspiracy, which you can charge; and I can charge you with a conspiracy today, Isaac. “Conspiracy to mislead people by founding Tangle.” Now that would be bogus, but I can do it. The feds could march in and put you in cuffs right now. 

Isaac Saul: So I do think one of the interesting points of your defense here for Trump that I actually find quite compelling is that he believes the election was stolen and he has actual professionals and legal advisors around him who are telling him the election was stolen. You mentioned at the top that you have a relationship with the former president. Did you ever give him a whisper in his ear that, hey, maybe these people around you are giving you bogus advice? Was he responsive to that?

Bill O'Reilly: Well, I can't give you answers about private conversations that I have with Donald Trump, because that wouldn't be right. Everything that the president and I talk about, unless he says, “Yeah, go ahead,” I won't divulge. But I will tell you this:

On my commentary — which we do on a daily basis on BillOReilly.com, on The First, on DirecTV, you name it — I'm way overexposed… He got the message that I did not buy into this. And he got it fast, because I told my audience very quickly there was no substance to the election fraud allegations unless they were filed in federal court with affidavits. And that I, as an honest journalist, was not going to listen to Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani or any of these people until they filed, and none of them did. Trump knew that from day one.

Isaac Saul: I'm curious how you feel your former network handled some of this. Fox News is obviously still one of the most influential places in the media industry. They got a lot of heat for airing some folks who were spreading things about Dominion Voting Systems, stuff like that. You left the network in 2017. What was it like for you to watch their coverage of some of the allegations of fraud post-election?

Bill O'Reilly: Okay, so if I had been at Fox News in 2020, none of this would have ever happened. None of it. Because I would have used my platform at 8 o'clock, The O'Reilly Factor, to do exactly what I did on No Spin News: To look into the camera and say, “This is bogus unless you file it.” I would have had Brit Hume with me and a bunch of other very credible contributors, we would have laid it out, and I would have put an end to it. There wouldn't be anybody at Fox that would have gone up against us. No one. That's number one. 

So the fact that I wasn't in the chair cost Fox a billion dollars [Editor’s note: Fox settled with Dominion for $787.5 million, though you could argue that reputational damage cost the network hundreds of millions more]. That's how much money it cost them. With the judgment that Dominion had, all the lawyers’ fees, they got another lawsuit coming up against them. They'll lose a billion [Editor’s note: Voting technology company Smartmatic is currently suing Fox News for $2.7 billion]. 

Okay. Now, why did it happen? It happened because Roger Ailes left and then about nine months later Bill O'Reilly left and there was no central authority in the network. You get it? It was fiefdoms. Everybody ran their own shows the way they wanted to. You had people at Fox who were telling their audience, “Yeah, that's fraud, and I'm going to put somebody on air and they're going to say it.”

You can't do that. You can't do it. But they did it. And they paid a terrible price for doing it. 

So that's pretty much all I can say. Whenever you have a news organization, and I've been in this business for what will be 50 years next year, you've got to have standards that come down from management about what you can do and what you can't do.

That's gone. There's no standards at MSNBC. Those people, I mean, they say the most insane stuff every day, nobody holds them to account. “Oh, it's a racist country.” No, it's not. And you can't just say, “Oh, we'll bring on a counterpoint of view,” which they rarely do, by the way. Just the fact that you're saying the United States of America is a racist country is an irresponsible statement. Okay, you can pick out one or two incidents if you want, but that's not what they do.

Which is why I actually follow you, Isaac. There are a few places that now I look at — Semafor is one, Tangle, DailyChatter for overseas news — where I think I can get a fairly honest take. But I don't read The New York Times or Washington Post. They're not newspapers anymore. They're left-wing journals. I don't read the Epoch Times. I don't do that. I mean, I'm not in the business of sorting through indoctrination. 

So to your question, what happened [at Fox News] was horrible for the journalism industry. It was horrible. But here's the bottom line of it: People believe what they want to believe. We're living in a country where facts really don't matter all that much to maybe the majority of our citizenry. They believe what they want. And whatever they believe, they want to hear it.

And that's what the television news agencies and the newspapers are doing. They're giving the choir the song.

Isaac Saul: Yeah, that's certainly a core element of why we've built what we've built, because we recognize people are going around and essentially just feeding themselves things that confirm their priors. 

I’m curious — you were a headline act at Fox News, like you said, the heavyweight. And after you left, Tucker Carlson took over your spot and became the face of the network, effectively. And now he's gone independent as well and left Fox News. Where do you think this is going? Do you view network news stations as being the influential places they used to be? Or do you think folks who are independent, like you, are actually driving the narrative in a lot of political circles across the country right now?

Bill O'Reilly: I don't know. It's hard for me to calibrate that. But I can tell you this: The audience for all news is diminishing incredibly quickly in this country, which is very dangerous. The Los Angeles Times is pretty much out of business, and they're not coming back, because they turned into a left-wing journal, and any moderate or conservative in the Southern California area will go, “I'm not going to read this. This is insane.” They're gone.

Television — Fox News primetime reaches 2 million people, maybe 200,000 are between the ages of 25 to 54. That's nothing. I used to do 8 [Editor’s note: I wasn’t entirely sure what O’Reilly is referring to here and we didn’t get clarification before publication; he sometimes eclipsed 4 million viewers on his show, which occasionally aired twice in one night, so it's possible he had 8 million viewers across both spots on some nights. I am not aware of 8 million people ever tuning in at once]. I used to do a million 25-54. What they do now is a shadow of what they used to do. And the others are lower.

Their influence has declined dramatically. The network news (the three nightly newscasts), you total them all up to maybe 15 million viewers, maybe 4 million 25-54 [Editor’s note: The most recent numbers show the aggregate for ABC/NBC/CBS at about 21 million total and 3 million 25-54]. It's the older people. Average age at CNN is about 70, 68-71 for Fox, in that range [Editor’s note: Average age for a CNN viewer in 2023 was 68, and 67 for Fox].

Because these are the people who don't do technology. They just sit there and they do what they always did. They got the martini, they got the clicker, they don't really care what's on. I'm not diminishing those people, you know, but the vibrance of presenting information to the American people is on social media. That's where it is. My audience, the bulk of my audience, is on YouTube. It's incredible because I don't even do any of that.

I mean, I'm the biggest Luddite in the world, okay? My son is at Oxford in England, he plays lacrosse for them. And he's playing a Welsh team, Swansea, and Oxford waxes them, right? So after the game, the tradition is you line up and you shake hands. Well, as soon as the game ends, about eight guys run at my son. And he thought they were coming to trash him or something, beat him up, because he had O'Reilly on the back of his jersey.

And they go, “Are you Bill O'Reilly's son?” And he goes, “How do you know my father?” YouTube! It's everywhere. That's the big change. And I didn't even know it! I mean, we do very, very well here at BillOReilly.com and we make a terrific living and I don't have to answer to anybody, I run the corporation. But that YouTube thing — that's the power of the future.

Isaac Saul: A lot of people don't know this about you, that you actually had a long background in journalism before your on-air career. I know you did a lot of local journalism. You've traveled to war zones like El Salvador to cover international conflict.

Right now as we speak, Tucker Carlson is in Russia — purportedly interviewing Vladimir Putin [Editor’s note: The interview has now been released; we’ll be covering it next week]. He's catching a lot of flack for that. I'm curious what you think about a decision like that, to go sit down with a foreign leader like Putin. Personally, I think it depends wholly on how the interview is done, but I'm interested to hear your view about this controversy and whether you think he should be there or not.

Bill O'Reilly: Well, it doesn't matter to me how the interview is done. If Carlson is savvy enough to get the interview with Putin, more power to Carlson. Okay? He's the best marketer in the world. He's better than me. He makes me look comatose. Carlson is an unbelievable marketer. Why would you criticize Tucker Carlson for sitting down with Putin? You already know Tucker Carlson kind of likes Putin, supports Russia in the Ukraine conflict. Everybody knows that. It's not like Carlson is being sneaky about it.

For whatever reason, he's thrown in with the Russians. That’s his right to do that. So the Russians go, “Hey, come on over, interview Vlad.” If I got the opportunity, I'd interview Vlad. You'd interview Vlad too, Isaac!

Isaac Saul: Yeah, they're not going to give me the opportunity though.

Bill O'Reilly: But it doesn't matter whether they do or not, Vlad's not gonna tell you the truth! No matter what you ask him. “Hey, did you kill that Wagner guy in the plane?” Of course not. “Hey, did you kill 40 journalists with poison?” Oh, no, not me… Hey, oh no, we had to invade Ukraine because they threw something at us. You're not going to get anything out of it! Now, you can ask questions in an artful way, but that takes a lot of training to do that.

You've got to go in prepared to ask the question a little bit differently so you may get something. But anybody interviewing Vladimir Putin who thinks Vladimir Putin is going to answer any question honestly is insane. It's like Mike Wallace sitting down and interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini. Wallace knew Ayatollah Khomeini was not going to answer any questions. All Wallace did, if you watched that interview, was annoy Ayatollah Khomeini…. He didn't get anything out of Ayatollah Khomeini other than the evil look. 

You gotta know who you're interviewing. But there's nothing wrong with Carlson going over to Moscow interviewing the guy, I would do it all day long.

Isaac Saul: All right, I have a couple of quick questions for you before I let you go. First of all, Jon Stewart is coming back to the air on Monday [Editor’s note: O’Reilly couldn’t help but flash a smile when I brought this up]. You and Jon have a storied relationship, you used to go on each other's shows and sort of counterbalance each other in the primetime lineup. What do you think about Jon coming back? Are you guys in touch? Are you talking? I'd love to hear a little bit of your perspective on that because I know you have a deep history.

Bill O'Reilly: I saw him a few weeks ago. He did a show out in Westbury, Long Island, and Stewart is really a talented individual. That's number one, everybody should know that. He's moved a little more politically — as many, many people have — to the left, because of Trump. Trump is a real polarizer in the sense that there are Americans, particularly liberals, who hate him so much that they think Biden is fine. They'll accept what Biden has thrown out there, which is the second-worst presidency ever. And I'll document that in my upcoming book, “Confronting the Presidents,” which should be out in September. 

But anyway, Stewart has moved to the left. And again, just like Tucker Carlson, it’s his right to move wherever he wants to move. It doesn't offend me. But when I saw him, we had the usual back and forth that we always have. He's about, I don't know, 12 years younger than I am. And I look 10 years younger than him. I said, “You know, you should do what I do, Stewart, look at you! You're falling apart!” But I'm glad he's coming back. I think the guy is very provocative, entertaining, I'll certainly look in.

I told him that if he were smart — and that's debatable — he would do another rumble with me on the internet before the election. Can you imagine that? When Carlson interviewed me on X, 30 million people watched that thing. And I think if Stewart and O'Reilly went at it again, you'd get at least 20 million to watch it.

But I don't know if he's up for it anymore. I mean, that's a rigorous thing to do.

Isaac Saul: You do a good job on your show of calling out some of the hypocrisy and failures of various politicians from across the political spectrum. Are there any politicians right now you feel really positively about? People in office you think are leading a worthwhile movement or treading the right line?

Bill O'Reilly: There are a lot of them, but I don't like to do that, because then if I say so-and-so is brilliant and really working for you, and then the next day he takes $700,000 from Egypt, you know…

So what I do is a case-by-case, and I think that's the fair way to analyze. Today on the No Spin News, we said Mitch McConnell's got to go. The turtle’s got to go. It's time for the turtle to go out to sea. Because this border bill, which is just a catastrophe, it's not gonna pass. He got behind that, and he didn't even read it. You couldn't have read it and gotten behind that thing. It doesn't do any good for anybody. 

But there are politicians who I believe want to solve problems. That's my number one litmus test. Do you have a solution to the problem? Do you want to solve the problem? But it is on a case-by-case basis for me. I don't like to throw names out unless I have verifiable evidence that these people are, like, going to heaven, that kind of thing. So I don't want it to come back and hit me in the head.

Isaac Saul: All right, last question, and I'm going to hold you to an answer on each of these: I want you, for former President Trump and current President Joe Biden, to give me what you think are each of their biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses headed into 2024.

Bill O'Reilly: Okay, so you want to start with Trump, the challenger? Trump ran the country well for four years if your litmus test is helping the folks. Real wages up, inflation down, border controlled, ISIS eliminated, Iran on the defensive, Putin fairly behaving. Okay? So, by all of those measures, Trump succeeded. 

His demeanor wiped it all out.

The election denial from Donald Trump, and he could have done it in a much more methodical way, could have appointed a special prosecutor to look into it, did not. That's Trump's “Lewinsky.” The fact that he denied the election, and that led to January 6th, overshadowed everything he did. And that's history. 

So his demeanor really hurts him. He should be 20 points ahead today of Joe Biden, Isaac. 20. Because his administration was so much better than the chaos we have now. 

Mr. Biden, I believe, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I say that because I went through it with my mother. I see the same thing that he's doing with my mother. And I'm telling you, I'm 100% on it. The man can't do a pre-interview for the Super Bowl for a friendly CBS audience. You realize there's not one conservative on the air at CBS? Not one in any venue, and Biden can't do an interview with the friendlies? 

He can't. And his staff and wife knows it. Because he could say anything at any time, blow up. The way he's run the country is as the most liberal president ever. He follows the progressive line down to a T, never deviates from it. Americans are paying 17% more today than they did under Trump for the essentials of life: Food, fuel, insurance, all of that [Editor’s note: This was the first time I’d heard this number. It was a claim made by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in October. O’Reilly is certainly right that things are a lot more expensive — prices went up about 12% in two years, but were partially offset by wage increases.] 

They can say inflation is coming down, but you're paying 17% more. More than 10 million foreign nationals are unsupervised in this country right now because Biden won't enforce immigration law [Editor’s note: This is true, though the number has been between 10 and 12 million for nearly 20 years]. Biden is the second-worst president in this country's history, only behind James Buchanan, who did the same thing Biden did by failing to hold the rebellious states in the South accountable for four years so they grew in ferocity, and when Lincoln walked in the Civil War was a fait accompli. Only Buchanan was worse than Biden.

Isaac Saul: I didn't hear a President Biden strength there.

Bill O'Reilly: Okay, maybe 25 years ago he had one. Because he got behind, 25 years ago, the very tough bill to punish violent criminals. He was a co-sponsor of that bill. Did you know that?

Isaac Saul: I did. But hold on a second though — You don't think there's a single thing that Biden's done that he could run on that is a strength for him heading into this election?

Bill O'Reilly: The only thing that Biden has done that could be considered a plus is the pressure he has put on the pharmaceutical companies to drop the prices of drugs, especially for senior citizens. And that isn't a law. It's a plan. It's brought drug prices down a bit. That's a positive. 

But you've got to look long and hard to find something that this man has done in three years to improve this nation. Overseas, zero. Now if you are a global warming person, you can point to that, certainly, that he's made it very hard for fossil fuel companies to prosper; but in the meantime he's just wrecked the marketplace in America for fuel.

But if you're a progressive, you like him. I'm not a progressive, but I'm not a conservative. I'm looking for what's best for the folks.

Isaac Saul: I would contend that the war in Ukraine, I think, is both a blemish on his record, but also he did successfully rally NATO allies to their support. I think that was the right decision to push back on Russia and support Ukraine.

Bill O'Reilly: But remember, here's where you're making a mistake: And you're a young guy, so you learn from me. [Laughs] Ukraine is reactive. He's reacting to a Putin invasion, which is a threat to the world. Putin wins in Ukraine, you kiss Taiwan goodbye. Now I don’t know why people don’t want to care about Taiwan, but you embolden the dictators. You embolden them. They're not going to stop. And history shows us that. 

So yes, you're correct that by supporting Ukraine and rallying NATO, Biden did the right thing. But that's not a policy. I mean, that's something that he had to react to. In Israel, he's not doing that. He's trying to walk the tightrope because he knows his party doesn't like Israel, generally speaking. All right? I don't know what more America could do to help Israel at this point, but when the President of the United States says he's gonna veto a standalone $18 billion bill that would help the Israelis, that's pretty frightening to me. Why would you veto that?

Isaac Saul: Let me take you on the economy, then. I think the Biden talking point would be that he inherited an economy in free-fall post-Covid, that that was where the world was. He invested in industrial policy and manufacturing, unemployment's under 4%. We had inflation, but not as bad as a lot of our European counterparts. I think you can make the case that we're watching economic sentiment go up right now, and after three years, some of his policies at least have been pretty effective at helping the economy rebound, even on oil. You know, we have more oil production right now than ever before. Prices are not where they were under Trump yet, but they've come down a bit as inflation recedes. I think he's closer to mediocre than the second-worst president of all time.

Bill O'Reilly: Okay, and that's fine with me, but I can demolish your arguments and it won't take me a long time because I’ve got to go. All right? 

Number one, Trump left office with 1.4% inflation. [Editor’s note: This is accurate]

Number two, Trump left office with 3.5% unemployment, and record employment for African Americans. [Editor’s note: This was true in February of 2020, pre-Covid. But when Trump left office in January of 2021, unemployment was 6.3%

Number three, Trump left office with real wages up 7.2%. [Editor’s note: O’Reilly understates this, actually. Wages were up 8.7% after inflation]

Biden comes in, immediately taxes fossil fuels, which immediately ignites inflation. Wham, like this. Then the whole economy contracts. So when Trump left (and if Covid hadn't hit, Trump would have been easily reelected), the economy was sturdy. It wasn't in decline. It wasn't falling, it wasn't doing any of that. All the folks were doing pretty well.

Biden comes in and he knocks out the Remain in Mexico policy, flooding the nation with foreign nationals. He puts regulations on and stops drilling for the American energy companies. Energy prices go bump. Then he reacts to all of this crazy stuff.

And after three years, he's getting some of it under control, but it's all his fault in the beginning. And when you say we have record oil production, that's true. Where's it going? It's going to Europe, because they are suffering under the Ukraine situation because we're boycotting Russian oil. That's where most — not most — but much of the U.S. oil production is going, and that's why you haven't seen our oil prices come down. They're a buck more than they were when Trump left.

So anyway, there's my demolishment. Good question though and good debate. And I hope you guys will get a lot of good reactions from this back and forth.

Isaac Saul: I appreciate you coming on. I'm going to score one point before you go, which is that when I came on your show we disagreed about Nikki Haley after New Hampshire: I said she was going to stay in the race, you thought she was going to drop out. She's still in the race. We're coming up on South Carolina. So I'll take that point…

Bill O’Reilly: Okay!

Isaac Saul: …and I'll let my readers and listeners decide on the economy. Bill O'Reilly, I appreciate you coming on. If people want to check out your work, you’re at BillOreilly.com, and we'll do it again sometime.

Bill O'Reilly: Hopefully. Thank you Isaac for having me in.

Isaac Saul: Thanks, Bill. I appreciate it.

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Isaac Saul
I'm a politics reporter who grew up in Bucks County, PA — one of the most politically divided counties in America. I'm trying to fix the way we consume political news.