Trump finds historical muse in tourmate and ex-Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly
Donald Trump appears to have found his historical muse. The former US president will go on tour for a series of “live conversations” with Bill O’Reilly, an ex-Fox News host who has reason to understand him better than most.
At least 26 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct over four decades, ranging ranging from harassment to sexual assault and rape; he denies them all. O’Reilly was forced out of Fox in 2017 following multiple accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour.
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The duo’s defiant apparent embrace of shamelessness will be put to the test in the The History Tour, in Sunrise, Florida, on 11 December, Houston, Texas, on 18 December and Dallas, Texas, on 19 December. The venue for another stop on 12 December is yet to be confirmed.
The series is likely to be a hot ticket in the “Make America Great Again”, or “Maga” universe and prove a moneyspinner for both men. It will give Trump, who has shown little interest in a presidential library, a first stab at posterity. But anyone hoping for a replay of David Frost’s revealing interviews with Richard Nixon is likely to be disappointed.
A press release on O’Reilly’s website notes that Trump presided over “an especially intense period” and says the pair will “discuss exactly how things were accomplished, as well as challenges, both good and bad!”
It describes O’Reilly himself as a “Historian/Journalist”. He has co-written bestselling books including Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln about presidential assassinations.
The release quotes Trump as saying: “These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the US, those that the Fake News Media never mention.”
The 45th president also promises that “it will be fun, fun, fun, for everyone who attends!”
Trump and O’Reilly are kindred rightwing populists who have raged against political correctness, offering dubious examples such as “the war on Christmas”.
O’Reilly, the former presenter of Fox News’s top-rated The O’Reilly Factor, adds in the press release: “My job as a historian/journalist is to get important things on the record in a fact-based way. These conversations with the 45th president will not be boring.”
The tour is the latest step in the unusual post-presidency of Trump, who turns 75 on Monday. Banned from Facebook and Twitter, and with a blog that collapsed within a month, his online presence has reverted to pre-2016 levels yet he remains the unofficial leader of the Republican party and has hinted at another presidential run in 2024.
“Mr Trump was both a diminished figure and an oversized presence in American life, with a remarkable – and many say dangerous – hold on his party,” noted a New York Times report on his speech to North Carolina Republicans last weekend.
The conversations with O’Reilly seized on by late-night TV hosts. Jimmy Fallon of NBC quipped: “It should be a fun tour. Backstage passes automatically come with a hush money payment of $130,000. Isn’t that nice?”