Bill Maher pressed Dr. Phil McGraw over comparison of Presidents Trump and Biden, melts down over refusal to say Trump is worse

 May 9, 2023

TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw and liberal HBO host Bill Maher had a bit of a heated discussion recently amid a broader one-on-one conversation about a wide range of issues during Sunday's episode of Maher's "Club Random" podcast.

The specific issue of contention was Maher's assertion that former President Donald Trump is significantly worse than current President Joe Biden and his frustration that McGraw repeatedly refused to concede that particular point, according to Fox News.

"Would you not agree" that Trump is worse than Biden?

Asked by Maher for his view on the direction the nation is currently headed in, McGraw said that it was "headed for a cliff," and when asked to further expound upon that, replied, "Well, it depends on what category you want to talk about," and noted, "Look, I stayed non-political because I think there's idiocy on both sides."

According to Mediaite, McGraw then referenced Republican disruptions during Biden's State of the Union address and said, "I’m not a big fan of our president or the last one, but I respect the office of the president and to see somebody screaming liar -- that disrespects the office. I think the rest of the world’s gotta be looking at that going 'God.'"

Maher took issue with McGraw's blithe comparison of the two presidents and argued, "They are very different people and one of them is much more of a threat to the republic. And that would be the 45th. Would you not agree?"

He further asserted that Biden was a "return to normalcy" but acknowledged that he nonetheless was too enamored with the "fringe left" and "will not ever tell them to sit down and shut up. But I will take that bargain -- much as I don't like it, and it's bitter -- I will take that bargain over Trump. Come on."

"Well, I'm concerned about both sides. And I'm particularly concerned about this woke agenda that's being pushed," McGraw said in response as he shifted the topic of discussion to "cancel culture" and college campuses, where both men were in full agreement that there are major societal problems at play.

"Culture" more important than "politics"

About 10 minutes later, as Maher told McGraw that it was impossible to avoid politics any longer, he revisited the prior comparison of Presidents Trump and Biden and attempted once again to get McGraw to acknowledge that the former was inarguably worse than the current.

McGraw wouldn't bite, though, and said, "It’s not politics that determine the outcome of society. It’s culture. I don’t care about politics," and proceeded to note how both Democrats and Republicans have held control for roughly equal periods of time throughout history and observed, "They both come up about the same place. I don't care about that. I care about our culture."

"Okay, I'm disappointed that I can't get you to just out and say that Trump is a completely different animal than the politics on the left and the right that we both agree is very lacking on both sides," Maher said.

The host went on to provide a few examples of why he believed Trump was so much more terrible than Biden, and suggested, "If I can't have your faith on that, it's very hard for me to understand where you're coming from on any issue."

Maher then joked about McGraw's refusal to provide a definitive response to his assertions about Trump, but McGraw fired back, "I’m telling you this. That’s a cop-out. What difference does it make? A -- he’s not in power now. B -- he’s probably not gonna be," and then revisited his own concerns about society's embrace of "cancel culture" being much more of a danger than anything going on in politics at the moment.

Agree to disagree and "just move on"

In the end, however, Maher noted that it was a good thing that both he and McGraw could disagree on the subject in a civil manner and still remain friends, and said, "One thing you have to have in a friendship, and I hope we’re friends now for a long time, is the ability to air your differences and then just move on."

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