Donald Trump goes on late-night Twitter rampage against Bill O'Reilly & Fox News: "I am having a really hard time watching"

But the Fox News host still calls the bombastic frontrunner "good for politics in America"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 22, 2015 3:45PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Mike Segar/Joshua Roberts/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Mike Segar/Joshua Roberts/Photo montage by Salon)

Donald Trump has a complicated history with Fox News. The Republican frontrunner phoned in to host Greta Van Susteren's show last night before blasting marquee pundit Bill O'Reilly less than an hour later.

Trump, a frequent "O'Reilly Factor" guest, took issue with the Fox News host's decision to invite so-called "Trump haters," conservative commentators Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume and Rich Lowry on to discuss the campaign's performance:

Trump then went back to his familiar habit of retweeting supporters bashing the network -- a move he pulled multiple times following his on-again, off-again feud with Megyn Kelly. This time, Trump redoubled his knock on Kelly for good measure, slamming "The Kelly File" as a "terrible show":

For his part, O'Reilly told "Today" host Matt Lauer that Trump lashes out on Twitter to get attention, casually dismissing the social media missive.

"He wants people to like him. When people criticize him, he takes it personally," O'Reilly said. "You know, this machine, the tweeting thing, that’s like the worst thing you can give Donald Trump is this tweeting thing," he added laughing. "I just think this is an extension of his reality show 'The Apprentice," ...this is just theater right now. He gets a lot of attention from the theater.”

O’Reilly admitted that he and Trump attended Yankees and Knicks game together in the past while promoting his new book, “Killing Reagan,” on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” before suggesting that Trump’s resonance with voters was rooted in disaffection with President Obama’s handling of the economy.

“We need to get this country on track, and we need to start to develop this country in a way that puts its dominance back. That's what Trump is pushing, and that's why his message is resonating," O’Reilly argued.

With Lauer, O'Reilly argued that Trump's popularity is a good thing for American democracy. “I think Trump is good for politics in America. Everybody else is bashing the hell out of Donald Trump. That's the chic thing to do," he said. "But he has engaged people. He has forced people to pay attention, and they are paying attention, and that is good for America."

Watch O'Reilly respond to Trump's Twitter attacks on NBC's "Today":

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Elections Conservative Media Donald Trump Fox News Greta Van Susteren Megyn Kelly Video