Appearing yesterday on a conservative San Francisco radio show, Bill O’Reilly offered his first public comments since being criticized for saying he would approve of an al Qaeda terrorist attack on the California city.
O’Reilly not only stood by his comments, but claimed they “needed to be said”:
I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at a city that has absolutely no clue about what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.
Full transcript below (or listen to the audio):
HOST: First question, do you stand by what you said?
O’REILLY: Of course I do. I mean, it’s ridiculous. We’re in World War III and San Francisco votes against military recruiting in schools. It’s insane. So, you know, people have to live with their actions. If I were President Bush, I would just go in and say, “Alright, that’s fine. You don’t want to help us in World War III? We’re just gonna withhold federal funding, except for children’s programs.” I’d make an exception there. You know, look, when is the city of San Francisco going to wise up? You know, enough’s enough. This is life and death we’re talking about here. And you know, I’m from New York. There are dozens of people from my neighborhood on Long Island are now dead because of 9/11, and you people are telling me you’re not going to allow recruiting out there? Hey, it’s serious, and I think you guys need a wake-up call — not you guys, the people who voted against the military recruiting.
HOST: Yeah, we certainly don’t need a wake-up call on that score. It was a couple of months ago, we said virtually the same thing when the Board of Supervisors announced that they were above the warship — I believe it was the U.S.S. Iowa, wasn’t it? — docking as a military museum, because “we don’t want to be endorsing the military.”
O’REILLY: Yeah, well I think that enough’s enough, and there are a lot of good people in the city of San Francisco, but you’ve been hijacked by the radical left. Your press is radical left. The San Francisco Chronicle is a radical newspaper, its circulation is dropping like a rock. Your local news doesn’t exist, TV. You’ve got big problems in the city — and I love the city, it’s a great city, but if you’re going to work against the United States of America in the war on terror — the city of San Francisco chooses to do that — then you have no right to have federal funding. Believe me, if I were President Bush, I’d be standing in the middle of Union Square telling you that.
HOST: We’re talking with Bill O’Reilly. “Reaction came swiftly from City Hall,” it says in the Chronicle. “Board of Supervisors member Aaron Peskin, whose district includes Coit Tower, suggested that O’Reilly should get his head examined. ‘It sounds like he’s on the same medication Rush Limbaugh is addicted to, and he should go see a therapist,’ Peskin said.”
O’REILLY: Yeah, another cheap shot by that guy. He’s a classy guy, isn’t he? Taking a cheap shot against somebody. You know, this is the hallmark of the left: Cheap shot everybody. Come out with the most insane things you can. Convince your Kool-Aid drinking crowd to follow you. Look, San Francisco is a beautiful city. It is now a disgraceful city. You can’t even walk around the city without seeing people doing appalling things in the streets. I mean, you’re not going to wise up, I understand that. The city’s been hijacked, it’s going to stay that way. But the rest of the country doesn’t have to approve of it.
HOST: You know what really galled me about the Chronicle article, it was a collection of quotes, you know, taking various personal shots at you. The question was never even asked, “What did he mean? And is there some truth to it?”
O’REILLY: Yeah, the writer of the article didn’t even call me. He took all his information, as usual, from radical left-wing websites. Lazy, terrible reporting, which is the hallmark of the Chronicle, which is why the Chronicle is going to go out of business. I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at a city that has absolutely no clue of what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace.
HOST: Well it strikes us as kind of a pathetic, adolescent, “I’m above all that stuff” attitude, an ignorance of the nitty-gritty and the blood, sweat, and tears that go into defending a nation.
O’REILLY: I don’t think they like the country. I don’t think these people like the country. They feel that we’re the problem, we’re the evildoers, that al Qaeda is created because of us. That’s the hallmark of the radical left. It’s always America’s fault. We’re the bad country, and the enlightened citizens of San Francisco, we’re not going to be a part of it. We’re gonna separate out. We’re gonna ban military recruiting. Number one, that’s a fascist act. I mean, you’re making a decision that your citizens can’t hear of an opportunity they may want to hear about. That’s number one. So, look, I’ve had enough. I think you guys have had enough. If these guys want to come on the Radio Factor or the television Factor and debate me — I’ve been after [San Francisco Mayor] Gavin Newsome to come on the program for years. I mean, this is a big guy with a mouth who runs around, but he’s a coward. He won’t come on and debate me about this issue. Is Gavin proud of that vote? That’s my first question. Mayor, are you proud of that vote, and if so, why?