Bill O'Reilly told Newsmax TV on Thursday that the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump's remarks to a Gold Star widow "looks to me to be a set-up" by Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson.
"The thing that disturbs me is Congresswoman Wilson," O'Reilly told host John Bachman on "Newsmax Now" in an interview. "They were given a 24-hour day.
"The family of the fallen Army Sgt. [La David] Johnson, who was a Green Beret, was given 24-hour notice that President Trump would call.
"They gave that information to Congresswoman Wilson, who is an anti-Trump hater and has been from the jump," O'Reilly said. "Also, she voted against all of the bills that would help the military.
"She knew the call was coming in, she was in the car when President Trump reached the widow, Myeshia Johnson, 24 years old," he told Bachman.
"Then, she goes out on CNN and says, 'The president insulted Mrs. Johnson, made her cry.'
"This looks to me to be a set up," O'Reilly concluded. "It really does."
He noted Wilson, a four-term representative, had told reporters she only heard a portion of the call between Mrs. Johnson and Trump.
"That's impossible," he told Bachman. "If you were on a speakerphone in a car with the widow, which you were, you would have had to have heard the whole call."
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O'Reilly said he was not surprised White House chief of staff John Kelly or press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would say President Trump's condolences were respectful.
"But I believe that you are innocent until proven guilty," he said. "And, I know Donald Trump.
"I know he respects military people, so why on earth would a sitting president call a widow — just lost her husband in Niger — and insult her?
"It's impossible. It's inconceivable.
"Now, a choice or words or something like that, OK," he added, "but that's picayune."
O'Reilly said the negative coverage reflected the media's continuing efforts to "denigrate Mr. Trump.
"Nobody knows what was said. The press does not know.
"The press doesn't know — and, yet, you turn it on the television set, it's the worst kind of hatred," he said.
"This is what a continuation of what the American people have to deal with from the press.
"They're taking Ms. Wilson's word for it," O'Reilly told Bachman. "They're not taking Gen. Kelly's word for it, who says there wasn't anything inappropriate.
"They're taking Wilson's. Why? Because they hate Trump.
"Everybody knows what the game is."
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