Generally speaking there are two fundamental types of critiques of the controversial Mr. Donald Trump: the honest analytical kind and the partisan political hack kind. It's too bad so many of the president's most loyal followers can't tell the difference between the two.
The other night on Bill O'Reilly's TV show I said that I thought Mr. Trump did the right thing in attacking Syria. I said, "I'm glad that he was moved by those images and did what he did."
But I also said that "It's important, I think, to point out that if you question what he did and you point out the inconsistencies of what he did that is not Trump bashing, despite what his fans think, that's called legitimate journalism."
I told O'Reilly that it was worth noting that there was a big difference between Citizen Trump and President Trump. Citizen Trump was vehemently and repeatedly against any military action against Syria after Bashar al-Assad's first major poison gas attack against his own people in 2013. What changed between then and now, I asked? Assad committed a war crime in 2013 using poison gas — and he committed another war crime a week or so ago using poison gas.
If President Trump was so moved by the Syrian regime's inhumanity in 2017 - why wasn't Citizen Trump moved enough in 2013 to push President Obama to action, I asked. Instead, he put out numerous tweets all pretty much with this same message: "Don't attack Syria - an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the U.S. ..."
I thought that pointing out the differences between Citizen Trump and President Trump represented honest, reasonable commentary - but Mr. Trump's most loyal fans didn't see it that way. They saw it as an example of the partisan political hack variety of commentary.
Not long after my appearance on Fox, some Trump loyalists took to Twitter. Betsy said I was "an idiot." Someone called Musray said I was a "doofus." Mary wanted O'Reilly to "Ask Bernie to show us his Hillary t shirt on under his suit."
Hey, it's a free country. I get to speak. They get to speak. But despite their pervasive presence on social media - and their loud voices on conservative talk radio and TV - there really aren't a lot of die-hard Trump supporters out there in America.
According to a CBS News poll this year, only 22 percent of Americans are characterized as "Believers" - people who support Donald Trump no matter what. According to the poll, "They put no conditions on their support: [They say] 'I'm a Trump supporter, period.'"
So I came up with a few questions for the "Believers."
1 What would your reaction have been if President Obama had said that President Bush's administration "lied" to get us into a war in Iraq?
2. What was your reaction when candidate Donald Trump said precisely that at the GOP presidential debate in South Carolina: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none," candidate Trump said.
3. What would you have said if Hillary Clinton compared American intelligence agents to Nazis?
4. What was your reaction when on January 11, 2017 Donald Trump took a shot at the intelligence community and asked in a tweet: "Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
5. What would you have said if the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders told Bill O'Reilly that he respects Vladimir Putin and then made a case for moral equivalency between what Russia does and what the United States does?
6. What was your reaction when President Trump on Super Bowl Sunday told Bill O'Reilly: "I do respect him [Putin]." And when reminded by O'Reilly that, "Putin is a killer," Mr. Trump said: "There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?"
7. Did you agree with Donald Trump in 2013 when he repeatedly tweeted that we should not get involved militarily in Syria?
8. What is your reaction now that he did get involved militarily in Syria?
9. Did you profess outrage, like many conservatives did, when in March 2009 President Obama told Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show" that his (Obama's) bowling score of 129 was “like being in the Special Olympics”?
10. What was your reaction when Donald Trump on July 29, 2016 made fun of a disabled New York Times reporter by shaking uncontrollably at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs?
11. What would your reaction have been if liberal Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer had said John McCain was a hero only because he was captured - then added, "I like people that weren’t captured, OK”?
12. What was your reaction when Donald Trump said John McCain was a hero only because he was captured - then added, "I like people that weren’t captured, OK”?
13. What would you say if Donald Trump one day announces that he has changed his mind and no longer thinks we need to build a wall on our southern border - will you still support him, period?
14. Why do you think we attack some people for what they say and praise others for saying the same thing?
15. Do you think principles in this country are dead - or merely dying?
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.