Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump (Credit: Fox News)

Bill O'Reilly: "Emotional" Donald Trump doesn't mean what he says — "if you take what he says literally, he can be a frightening guy"

Trump appeared on the program shortly thereafter and, as is his wont, bombastically took issue with that assessment


Scott Eric Kaufman
December 17, 2015 6:21PM (UTC)

On "The O'Reilly Factor" Wednesday evening, host Bill O'Reilly provided a final take on Tuesday's Republican debate, noting that Trump "dominated" it, while the likes of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson did little to stop their "descent in the polls."

He also returned to the conversation about Trump he had with conservative icon Charles Krauthammer after the debate. "Charles believes the man is unqualified to be president and says some of Trump's statements are 'nonsensical.' I see it differently."

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"Donald Trump understands the anger sweeping America and is tapping into that," he continued. "He is not concerned that much with policy -- he is running on emotion. His strategy has been brilliant, but if you take what he says literally, he can be a frightening guy."

"I see many of his statements as over-the-top rhetoric, designed to get him votes, not necessarily written-in-stone policy pronouncements," O'Reilly said. "Talking Points does not endorse candidates, does not root, does not promote."

After reminding his audience that -- solely for the purpose of being able to make this very statement -- O'Reilly is "a registered independent," he said that he "watches all powerful people and holds them to account. Trump has brought politics center-stage by sheer force of personality and that is a good thing. Whether or not he would be a good president is quite something else -- that is for you to decide."

Trump appeared on the program later and took issue with O'Reiily's characterization of him as someone who says, but doesn't mean, "frightening" things because he's campaigning on emotion instead of policy.

"We're not talking about our citizens," Trump said about the Muslims he would ban from entering the United States. "We are talking about people coming from outside, some of whom are not looking at us in a very positive manner. It's a subject that should be discussed. I know more about policy than just about anybody, I'm doing the right thing and I bring up subjects that are important."

Watch the entire segment below via Fox News.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Aol_on Bill O'reilly Donald Trump Elections 2016 Fox News The Gop Primary The O'reilly Factor Video

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