Interviews

Analyzing the tone of the Trump press conference

Chris Wallace joins 'The O'Reilly Factor' to discuss President Trump and the media

 

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Continuing now with our lead a story, President Trump's one hour and 17 minute press conference today.

Joining us from Washington, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" anchor, Chris Wallace. Before we get to the overall impression, you know, Goldberg and I differ. He thinks the President is a bit unhinged, I do not. You say?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Well, look, there were some moments in there that made me uncomfortable, when Donald Trump said it would be good politics to blow that Russian spy ship out of the water. I am not sure that was a great moment for diplomacy. But no. He wasn't unhinged. I think that this was a determined effort by this president, who is by far the best spokesman in his administration, for his administration, to seize the narrative.

There is a growing talk here in Washington that there is chaos. You know, you have got John McCain talking about, there is disarray in the White House. There have been some real problems. It is not all just a narrative. And this is a president saying, I am in charge, I know what I'm doing. I am going to, you know, I am not going to bend to Washington. Washington is going to have to get used to me.

O'REILLY: Yes. I mean, he was defiant but in a low-key way. I haven't seen any hysteria from your submarine analogy. He made that by saying, look, some people would like to see me blow it out of the water, this Russian submarine 30 miles off the U.S. Coast in international waters. But I'm not going to do that because I want peace. And then, he went into a peace thing. I don't know why that would have made you uncomfortable. I mean, that kind of reassured me he wasn't Dr. Strangelove.

WALLACE: Well, you know, I remember when Ronald Reagan talked about, we are going to bomb the Soviet Union in five minutes, as he was doing a radio check -- I just don't think that President should even talk about that.

O'REILLY: All right. You are old school.

WALLACE: But no, the fact is that, overall, I thought that he was in control, it is his style, it is not Barack Obama's, and I am sure there are a lot of your viewers out there saying, thank God. And he seized control of the narrative and said, chaos, heck no. It is running like a smoke, well-oiled machine.

O'REILLY: There is a story in "The Washington Post" that says, Flynn, General Flynn, may have lied to the FBI. It is always accounts. And as you know, the President didn't answer John Roberts' direct question about whether he saw a transcript of the phone call. And we don't -- haven't got to the bottom of it yet, whether the President, he implied that its national council told him there was nothing wrong in the phone call. That is what the President implied. But the bigger story could be, look, if Flynn did lie to the FBI, you should have known it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, here is the question. He is never going to get a fair shake and most of the national media. He is not. You know it and I know it.

WALLACE: No, but in the end, this is why I think you could overstate the importance of this news conference. In the end, what we say, honestly, doesn't matter. And you know, the kind of reviews --

O'REILLY: Why it doesn't matter though? If you hear the same thing every day that he is an evil incompetent --

WALLACE: In the end, it is going to be resolved. And I think too many White House, and when I covered Reagan, I thought this, stop paying attention to us and do your job. And the fact is, that if, you know, he improves the economy, if he gets tax reform through, if he gets ObamaCare repealed, and an effective or place through, then, it is not going to matter. And conversely, if he doesn't get that stuff through and people's lives don't change, that he could have all the positive press of the world and it isn't going to matter.

O'REILLY: Here is what I think you are missing. He has succeeded now and downgrading the press so much, no matter what they say, 50 percent of the country is not going to believe them. And he did it. He downgraded the credibility of the national media. So, now, even if they say something true, most people aren't going to believe it. And that is an advantage to him.

WALLACE: But here is, respectfully, Bill, where I think you are missing the point, he didn't get in trouble. We didn't have all this talk about, is this administration in trouble because of the media. It was because of facts. It is because Mike Flynn lied to the Vice President of the United States. His labor secretary had not two, not three but five strikes against him. It's because the executive order was a mess. So, in the end, he is going to rise or fall on the merits of what he accomplishes, not on whether he gets a good or bad press.

O'REILLY: All right. Chris Wallace, everybody.

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