O’Reilly shrugs off Kremlin demand for apology

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly responded to the Kremlin's demand for an apology for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” by suggesting they check back in “around 2023.”

“The Putin administration in Moscow is demanding that I, your humble correspondent, apologize for saying old Vlad is a killer,” Bill O’Reilly said to start his prime-time program, “The O'Reilly Factor,” on Monday night. 

“So I am working on that apology but it may take a little time. Might want to check in with me around 2023,” the host recommended. 

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“If you’d like to know more about the violent history of Vladimir Putin, you might check out the book ‘iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age’ by Bill Gertz, a Washington Times reporter,” O’Reilly added. 

O’Reilly’s “killer” remark in a volley with President Trump ran during his interview during Fox's pregame show leading up to the Super Bowl after the president said he “respects” Putin as the leader of Russia. 

“He’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer,” O’Reilly pushed back. 

“Lot of killers,” Trump says. “We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”

“I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers,” O’Reilly responded.

After the interview aired, the Kremlin demanded a formal apology from Fox News.

“We consider such words from a Fox correspondent are unacceptable, offensive. To be honest we would prefer to get an apology from such a respected TV company,” a Russian spokesman said on a conference call with reporters. 

According to Nielsen data released on Monday, the O'Reilly-Trump interview was watched by 12.2 million viewers.