Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly said in a new interview it was not "my place" to do a better job defending colleague Megyn Kelly from Donald Trump's repeated verbal attacks.
O'Reilly told The Hollywood Reporter
he did not want to step in the way of the "Fox News Channel hierarchy" by saying something public to Trump, with whom he is close.
"I understand where Megyn's coming from; she was getting hammered by Trump supporters," O'Reilly said. "But it really wasn't my place. I said quite clearly on the air a number of times that what she asked was a legitimate question. And I said it off the air to Trump, too, in a call.
"I said, 'Hey, I would ask the same question? Not the same way, but I would have asked it.' But it was not my job to intrude on the Fox News Channel hierarchy, which was handling the controversy. Why am I going to get in the middle of that? Roger Ailes is a genius at handling this stuff. I am not going to make his life harder by putting my big mouth in the middle of this thing.
"But Megyn's come out of it fine, right? Big star and doing well."
Trump took issue with Kelly's line of questioning during a Republican presidential debate last summer, which resulted in the real estate mogul criticizing her for months in interviews and on Twitter.
Kelly said in April
she wished O'Reilly would have done more to defend her from Trump. Fox News called the attacks
"crude and sexist."
O'Reilly also told The Hollywood Reporter that stories of a feud between him and Kelly are "all fabricated. She's in a totally different part of the building. The last time I saw Megyn Kelly was in Detroit in March [for a GOP debate]."
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