On Monday night, Bill O’Reilly did that periodic thing he does by switching personalities. The Fox News host is fond of riling up the masses, which happened most recently with his “well-fed slaves” comment while discussing Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. But quite often, O’Reilly won’t let Donald Trump get away with similar polarizing rhetoric. The host then goes from cantankerous to counselor-like behavior, such as when he scolded Trump for attacking the Khan family. In this way, O’Reilly’s one of the few journalists to challenge the Republican nominee on his most extreme viewpoints.
On this episode, O’Reilly chose to ask Trump about his plan for policing America and healing tensions between officers and protesters. The host begins by asking Trump what he’d do about “chaos in the street” and attacks on police officers. Trump responded, “I know police in Chicago. If they were given the authority to do it, they would get it done.” How so? “By being very much tougher than they are right now. They’re right now not tough.” Trump insisted that he’d met some tough guys, and when pressed, he admitted to only really meeting one tough guy:
“All I know is this. I went to a top police officer in Chicago, he’s not the police chief, and I could see by the way that he was dealing with his people. He was a rough, tough guy. They respected him greatly. I said, ‘How do you think you could do it?’ He said, “Mr. Trump, within one week, we could stop much of this.'”
Trump was really impressed by this guy’s desire to use “tough police tactics.” O’Reilly seemed aghast and told Trump, “You need a warrant to arrest people. You can’t beat them up! You have to have a warrant to arrest them!” He then asked the real estate mogul for more details on what the tough officer wanted to do, and Trump simply decided he believed the officer at his word: “I’m sure he has a strategy.”
Trump then lamented how people are too “coddled” nowadays, and he wants to give the police their “spirit back” and allow them to take care of things. Trump stated, “I would be very, very strong and be a cheerleader for the police.” At that point, O’Reilly changed the subject.