Of course Trump defended O'Reilly

Bash on Trump: 'Don't talk about Bill O'Reilly'
Bash on Trump: 'Don't talk about Bill O'Reilly'

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Bash on Trump: 'Don't talk about Bill O'Reilly' 02:02

Story highlights

  • Mel Robbins: President Donald Trump's defense of Bill O'Reilly is part of a troubling pattern
  • Trump administration has picked up the torch of misogyny and is running with it, she says

Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker. She also is a contributing editor for Success magazine. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.

(CNN)It's recently come to light that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior by five women, and that he and Fox's parent company 21st Century Fox have paid out over $13 million to settle with the women. Public outrage has been swift; more than two dozen advertisers have pulled their ad dollars from O'Reilly's show, and calls for his resignation are mounting.

But there's at least one person who's defending O'Reilly, calling him "a good person" and even declaring "I don't think Bill did anything wrong."
That person is the President of the United States. Oh yeah, this is the same President who just proclaimed that this is sexual assault awareness month and touted the need to "protect vulnerable groups." He does this by defending a powerful man repeatedly accused of sexual harassment? Talk about raising awareness.
Yes, it is sickening. But are we surprised?
Bill O'Reilly in 95 seconds
Bill O'Reilly in 95 seconds

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Bill O'Reilly in 95 seconds 01:37
Donald Trump defends sexual misconduct all the time. He blames victims -- all the time. He believes men can do whatever they want, and that women are there for the taking or are the problem.
This is the man who bragged to Billy Bush on the now infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" tapes about moving on a married woman "like a bitch." He explained that he carries Tic Tacs "just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait."
He gloated about how he loves to "grab 'em by the pussy" and that "when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything." Bill O'Reilly is a star, so naturally he, too, "can do anything."
Trump is also the same guy who defended Roger Ailes when the network was consumed by yet another sexual harassment inferno last summer. That time, Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit accusing Ailes, then chairman of Fox News, of sexual harassment, and some 20 women other came forward with their own complaints. Even the network's superstar, Megyn Kelly, corroborated the harassment allegations with her own story.
Trump's response: He felt "very badly" for Ailes and remarked that "some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them."
Now let's stop right there. That statement tells you what Trump believes: When a man helps a woman with her career, there's a quid pro quo that's due and makes harassment OK.
O'Reilly accuser: I'm not after money
O'Reilly accuser: I'm not after money

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O'Reilly accuser: I'm not after money 04:21
Trump defended Donald Sterling. Remember Sterling? The former owner of the LA Clippers who was banned from the NBA for life when the public heard him telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to the games. Advertisers pulled their support, the public and players were outraged.
Trump called the comments Sterling made "despicable" but defended him, telling Fox & Friends, "He got set up by a very, very bad girlfriend; let's face it. She's called the girlfriend from hell."
In 1992, when a jury convicted boxer Mike Tyson of raping Desiree Washington, Trump was there to defend him. First he blamed Washington, noting that, "You have a young woman that was in his hotel room late in the evening at her own will." And then he defended Tyson, "It's my opinion that to a large extent, Mike Tyson was railroaded in this case."
That same year, Trump was caught on tape for an ET Christmas special gloating that "I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"
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Tina Fey mocks Trump at fundraiser 01:18
Who was the "her" the middle-aged Trump was referring to? A 10-year-old girl going up the escalator at Trump Tower. Sickening.
And if his opinion weren't sickening enough, consider how his administration is taking the torch and running with it. His VP, Mike Pence, won't take a dinner meeting alone with a woman. Think about that for a minute. Pence, a married man, harks to Christian evangelist Billy Graham's rule as his excuse for misogyny — and he's now a heartbeat away from the presidency. As Glennon Doyle Melton so eloquently put it in Time:
"What if male professors stopped meeting alone with female students? What if male doctors refused to meet with female patients? What if a vice president announced he would never dine alone with a black person? If any of these hypothetical rules alarms you, so should Pence's."
The problem is, we aren't dealing with hypotheticals anymore. From the GOP threats to defund Planned Parenthood, to Trump's all-male meetings to discuss women's health care, to his executive order to roll back women's protections from pay discrimination and in cases of sexual harassment.
But hey, don't worry: Trump, Pence, O'Reilly, Ailes, Sterling and Tyson -- they're all "good" people.
No they are not. And no, they cannot do "whatever they want" because they are stars. Not while we're all watching.