House Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement that he will not defend Donald Trump now or in the future is proof that the Republican Party's hierarchy believes the GOP presidential nominee will lose his bid for the White House, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said Monday.
"That may well be the case," O'Reilly, appearing as a guest on the network's noon "Outnumbered" program, commented, although Trump's strong performance "stopped the catastrophe for the moment. I think he did as well as he could have done under the circumstances."
Numerous key Republican leaders have either backed away from Trump or have condemned his words after The Washington Post released a video tape where he could be heard, boasting to "Access Hollywood" then-host Billy Bush, about how he'd been pressing a married woman to have sex with him and describing in explicit terms how he treats women.
O'Reilly also commented on the noon show Monday that if the Republican Party loses control of the House of Representatives, "that is Ryan's responsibility." Further, he said, if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wins the election, the United States will take "a radical turn to the left."
On Sunday night, the first 30 minutes of the debate was about the scandalous tape, O'Reilly said, and reinforced the "Republican hierarchy" and its opinion on Trump.
"[They] never liked Trump to begin with, never," said O'Reilly. "They feel he is not, I don't know, responsible enough maybe that is the word to be president. They don't say it because the Republican rank-and-file folks voted for him. So they don't want to go up against their own people but it is clear the Republican hierarchy doesn't like Trump."
Ryan is in a "survival mode," O'Reilly continued.
"It is hard to at this point read his mind, but he never liked Trump," said O'Reilly. "So then there are rumors there is more stuff coming out and all of that. So I think Ryan is basically saying to the Republican Party, look, you're all on your own. We'll help you but we're not going to really get behind Trump. It could destroy us if there is something else."
O'Reilly said he does not believe it will matter, in the long run, if Ryan endorses Trump, anyway.
"This is a visceral election, an emotional election, I said that long ago," said O'Reilly, and it doesn't matter who endorses who. "I think a lot of people will stay home."
Also on Monday, O'Reilly and the "Outnumbered" hosts criticized The New York Times for its "terrible editorial decision" of publishing Trump's words to Bush in full, without censoring any of the obscenities he'd used during their talk.
"You know The New York Times printed that whole thing on page one?" said O'Reilly. "With all the four-letter words and all of that. You go, okay, look, we know you hate him. We know you hate Trump. But do you have to do this? And they did."
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