The following exchange between Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer, televised on Fox News Network, Tuesday, December 15, 2015, requires no comment.
O’Reilly: Do you believe that Donald Trump would murder people if he were president of the United States? Do you, Charles Krauthammer, believe he would murder people?
Krauthammer: Well, if he doesn’t want to, why did he say it?
O’Reilly: Because he wants votes. He’s doing all of this. It’s theatre to get votes. That’s what he’s doing.
Krauthammer: So you’re saying this is a candidate for the presidency of the United States, talking to the American people and the world, and saying “I’m going to do X, Y, and Z,” and that the words he says are meaningless. I have no idea what he would do as president. All I have to go on is what he says.
O’Reilly: He’s going to say whatever – like almost every other politician – he’s going to say whatever he thinks is going to put him over the top to win. But I’m not justifying it. I’m explaining it. And so people can make their own minds on whether you vote for a guy like that or you don’t. But he’s running as a rogue candidate. He’s getting people whipped up so that they will like him because their emotion and his emotion coincide. So my next question to you is: With somebody like that on the stage, all of the other policy wonks, it’s very tough for them to get attention or to get anybody to really zero in on what they’re saying. North Korea? You think anybody gives a hoot? They don’t.
Krauthammer: Look, if you’re asking me whether or not the debate, or the lack of meaning in what Trump says, is going to have any effect on their standing, then we agree. It hasn’t up to now. He’s said all kinds of things that don’t make sense.
O’Reilly: It’s almost a brilliant strategy, though – it’s almost brilliant if, if all you want to do is win – if all you want to do is win – it’s brilliant because he marginalizes everybody else around him, because he’s so provocative in tapping into the fear and anger that’s pervasive among the Republican adherents. It’s brilliant.
Krauthammer: But if you’re telling me that demagoguery, untethered to the meaning of the words being used, can be effective, well, there’s a long history in human kind of that kind of demagoguery working.
O’Reilly: And that’s what he’s doing. That’s what he’s doing.
Krauthammer: That’s fine. Do you approve of it?
O’Reilly: Do I approve of it? I can’t really say whether I approve or not.
Krauthammer: As an American, as a citizen, you think it’s a good thing?
O’Reilly: I think what Donald Trump is doing is both good and bad. In the sense that he is destroying a corrupt system, it’s good. And it’s bad in the sense that he goes overboard, that he goes too far. But our system is corrupt. And people know it. And he’s destroying it.
Krauthammer: And the cure for corruption is to say things that you are admitting he doesn’t really mean?
O’Reilly: I don’t think he means them – I don’t think – some of it he means –
Krauthammer: So you think that that’s the way –
O’Reilly: Wait, wait. Some of it he means.
Krauthammer: That’s the way to go after a corrupt system?
O’Reilly: He’s going to build a border – he’s going to build a wall – he’s not going to be able to deport people, but he doesn’t care, because that’s what he wants to do. He’s not going to be able to ban Muslims, but he doesn’t care, because that’s what he wants to do. Look, I don’t approve of all of this, but I’m just telling you that it’s a brilliant strategy and he’s winning with it.
Krauthammer: Look, there’ve been a lot of brilliant strategists in the past, I mean who have succeeded. But it doesn’t mean that one has to accept it as the only way to go after –
O’Reilly: No, ah, ah, Charles --
Krauthammer: A corrupt system.
O’Reilly: I respect your opinion about it.
Krauthammer: But Cruz is also –
O’Reilly: But I think you’re missing – I think you’re missing one ingredient. Look, Cruz is running as a conservative, all right? And conservatives like –
Krauthammer: He also accuses it of being a corrupt system, but he doesn’t say “I’m going to kill the children of terrorists.”
O’Reilly: And that’s what you have to evaluate.