Mr Rivera appeared on the talk show on Thursday – just weeks after he revealed in a Twitter video that he had been fired from Fox News’ show The Five after 23 years with the right-wing network.
On the show, the 80-year-old was mocked by hosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin over his once close relationship with the former president, who sought to correct him when he claimed Mr Trump only went “crazy” after losing the 2020 presidential election.
In a marked change of heart from the past, Mr Rivera said that he would now “dedicate whatever energy I have left in the profession to ensure that he is not reelected president ever”.
“You know, it is a process, I think. And listening to your previous discussion in the last segment that Fox had a moral crisis after the election. Yeah, everyone knows I was close to Donald Trump for decades. You can boo or cheer. We came up together in New York from the 1970s when he was in New York,” he told the panel about his friendship with Mr Trump.
Ms Behar responded by saying things were different then as Mr Trump “was a New York character” rather than a powerful political figure.
Mr Rivera agreed and went on to try to explain why he remained close to Mr Trump as he entered the White House.
“He was a New York character. I went to and I did Celebrity Apprentice, you know. And then, you know, fate would have it just weeks after I did the Celebrity Apprentice, he announced his candidacy for the presidency,” he said.
“So, I mean, how many people have, you know, their friend... in the White House as president of the United States? He gave me tremendous access.”
He added: “He was always very nice to me even though he knew I didn’t vote for him. So, you know, I have a different [outlook].”
When Ms Behar asked the former Fox News host what he thinks “happened to” Mr Trump, Mr Rivera replied: “What happened was he lost the election and became a crazy guy.”
At that point, both Ms Behar and Ms Hostin interjected to say that Mr Trump always had those characteristics.
“He was crazy before that. What are you talking about?” asked Ms Behar.
“I mean, he was a misogynist and a racist before then,” Ms Hostin added.
Mr Rivera backed down agreeing that “you’re right” but adding that Mr Trump “was always nice to me”.
Ms Hostin fired back: “Did he know you were Puerto Rican?”
Mr Rivera replied that “a lot of Puerto Ricans like Donald Trump,” before adding: “I know. You know, I know…”
Later in the interview, Mr Rivera called Mr Trump’s actions leading up to the January 6 Capitol riot “unforgivable” saying that he “incited a riot” and encouraged his followers “to go there and ruin their lives” that day.
“He stabbed the Constitution in the back,” he said.
“And I really, even though I still have affection for him and I remember the good times – because of that, he is disqualified, I believe, from ever being president of the United States.”
The former Fox News host was a close friend of the former president for many years but has been seeking to distance himself from him of late.
Last year, Mr Rivera took to Twitter to say that he would never back Mr Trump ever again after he refused to accept his 2020 election loss and peddled false claims that it was “stolen” from him.
“Election Deniers depress me. I blame President Trump for his shameful campaign to slander and undermine American faith in our elections. For all his positive accomplishments, and there are many, I could never support him again,” he tweeted in September,
“Without fealty to the Constitution, we’re [second] rate.”
In his appearance on The View, Mr Rivera also spoke out about his departure from Fox Nes
Mr Rivera announced in late June that he was parting ways with Fox News after he claimed that he had been fired from The Five.
In a bizarre Twitter video filmed aboard a speeding boat off Long Island’s Jones Beach, Mr Rivera told the camera: “I’m not going to be on The Five. I’ve been fired from The Five. And, as a result of that, I quit Fox.”
In a statement at the time Fox News said: “We reached an amicable conclusion with Geraldo over the past few weeks and look forward to celebrating him on Fox & Friends Friday morning which will be his last appearance on the network.”
Mr Rivera joined the network in 2001 and became a host of The Five a year later. The show became Fox’s most-watched programme, averaging more than three million viewers last year despite airing in the late afternoon and not in primetime.
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