Donald Trump has begun Sexual Assault Awareness Month by defending Fox News host Bill O’Reilly against sexual harassment claims.
According to reports, either the conservative host or Fox News has paid five women a total of about $13 million to settle claims of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior over the years.
O’Reilly has not commented but the claim has triggered an exodus of advertisers from his show.
But Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday that O’Reilly “did nothing wrong” and should not have settled.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump told the paper during the Oval Office interview.
“I think he shouldn’t have settled personally. I think he shouldn’t have settled... Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
Only last week, he declared April to be Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The declaration raised eyebrows in light of Trump’s comment that he could “grab” women “by the pussy”, which came to light during the election campaign.
Trump’s comments echo statements he made about former Fox News chief Roger Ailes in July 2016, amid another sexual harassment scandal at the network. Trump claimed Ailes’ accusers had received help from Ailes and then said “these horrible things about him”.
“It’s very sad. Because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he’s done. So I feel very badly,” Trump told NBC.