President Donald Trump Wednesday defended Fox News' Bill O'Reilly amid the recent disclosure that the TV personality or the network settled on five occasions in which women alleged sexual harassment or other inappropriate actions.
"I think he's a person I know well—he is a good person," Trump told The New York Times in an exclusive interview in the Oval Office.
The president then commented on the fact that O'Reilly or his network settled these cases, reportedly paying out a total of $13 million to five women.
"I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled," Trump told the Times. "Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong."
Multiple women have accused Trump himself of sexual misconduct. One of the women who came forward during the 2016 campaign has sued the Trump for defamation, claiming he made false statements about her in his denial of the sexual misconduct. Last month the president's lawyers claimed he should be immune to the lawsuit because it could prove a distraction for the leader of the nation and for the United States as a whole.
The pro-choice group NARAL tweeted about Trump's defense of O'Reilly, bringing up a tape that surfaced during the campaign that showed the then-reality TV star talking about grabbing women by the genitalia.
"A man who bragged about committing sexual assault .... is defending Bill O'Reilly. Enough said," NARAL tweeted.
O'Reilly's show, the popular O'Reilly Factor, has seen advertisers flee in the wake of the brewing controversy. The latest count had more than 20 advertisers pulling their spots from the show, which garnered $446 million in advertising from 2014 through 2016.
The Fox host denied any wrongdoing in a statement that claimed he settled the lawsuits to shield his children.
"Just like other prominent and controversial people, I'm vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity," O'Reilly wrote, in part, on his website. "In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline. But most importantly, I'm a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children."
More from Newsweek