Disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly ghoulishly downplayed the threat of coronavirus on Wednesday, saying many people who’ve died from the disease “were on their last legs anyway.”
O’Reilly made the statement during an interview with current Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has been calling for social-distancing guidelines to be relaxed so the U.S. economy can reopen.
Fox News terminated O’Reilly in 2017 after it was revealed that the host of The O’Reilly Factor, then the right-wing network’s most-watched show, had settled numerous sexual-harassment lawsuits, resulting in an advertiser boycott.
During his radio show on Wednesday, Hannity told O’Reilly he wants life “back to normal” and asked, “Can you fix that in a simple way?”
“Oh man I wish I could, you know?” O’Reilly responded. “But we’re making little steps. Bernie Sanders, you know, he’s — he’s gone, that’s really good for everybody. The projections that you just mentioned are down to 60,000, I don’t think it will be that high. 13,000 dead now in the USA. Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don’t want to sound callous about that.”
Hannity responded by telling O’Reilly, “you’re going to get hammered for that.”
“Well, I don’t care. I mean, a simple man tells the truth,” O’Reilly said.
As of Wednesday night, coronavirus had killed 14,768 people in the U.S. Not surprisingly, O’Reilly was far more concerned about the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which killed two people in the U.S. during Barack Obama’s presidency.
Listen to the exchange via Media Matters below.
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