Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said in an interview that U.S. weaponry could “wipe” Russian President Vladimir Putin off the “face of the earth” in less than one day.
Newsmax on Monday. Over the past several weeks, Russia has warned the U.S. and other Western nations against interfering in the Ukraine war and has alluded to the possibility of using nuclear weapons if tensions escalate.
O’Reilly hit back against those threats, saying that Americans have “no idea” how powerful the U.S. really is. He was on Newsmax promoting his latest book, Killing the Killers: The Secret War Against Terrorists, which discusses U.S. military and intelligence capabilities.
“Putin is saber-rattling about using nukes, and ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do that,” O’Reilly said. “The weaponry of the United States is far beyond anything that Putin has. If we chose to, we can wipe him and his government off the face of the earth in less than a day. We have those weapons in space right now, aimed right at Vlad.”
The U.S. has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, and provided substantial military aid, but it has not committed to sending troops to help the Eastern European country defend itself. However, President Joe Biden and the Pentagon have warned that the U.S. may be obligated to respond on the ground if Russia expands its invasion into NATO countries.
Late last month, Russia test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic Sarmat missile, also known as Satan II, which Putin said would make Moscow’s foreign adversaries “think twice.” The Russian president later implied that he could use such weapons against the West if Moscow believes it is threatened.
“We have all the tools for this, ones that no one can brag about, and we won’t brag—we will use them if needed—and I want everyone to know this. All the decisions have been made in this regard,” Putin said while speaking in St. Petersburg last week, according to CNN.
In addition, state-run news programs in Russia have promoted the prospect of the war spreading across “Europe and the world.” One guest even suggested last week that nuclear weapons should target the U.K. because of its support for Ukraine.
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Nonetheless, the White House on Monday attempted to quell any fears of nuclear war and urged the media to not reiterate Russia’s suggestions that the West could become entangled in a wider war.
“This is a war between Russia and Ukraine. NATO is not involved. The United States is not fighting this war. So I think it’s important and vital for all of us to not repeat the Kremlin talking points on this front,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
A senior U.S. defense official told Reuters this past Friday that despite Moscow’s rhetoric, Russian deployment of nuclear weapons isn’t seen as a serious threat.
“We continue to monitor their nuclear capabilities every day the best we can, and we do not assess that there is a threat of the use of nuclear weapons and no threat to NATO territory,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
O’Reilly, for his part, has attacked Russia since the start of the war. The former Fox host even accused his ex-employer of “doing a disservice to the American people” by allowing guests on the network to promote pro-Kremlin “propaganda.”
O’Reilly was forced out of Fox News in 2017 following the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him.