Roger Ailes, the recently ousted chairman of Fox News, has reportedly joined the Trump campaign to help the presidential candidate prepare for the upcoming debates against Hillary Clinton.
Ailes officially left Fox News among allegations of sexual harassment on July 21. Since Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes for sexual harassment, Vox reports that more than 20 other women have accused the former chairman, as well.
Although Roger was forced to leave Fox News amid scandalous accusations, he did not resign in shame. CNN reports that Ailes was not fired, but encouraged to leave in order to preserve the image of the Fox News brand. The founding CEO received 40 million dollars upon his exit from the network and was able to stay connected through an advisory position with Robert Murdoch.
With the sexual harassment case still ongoing, Ailes allying with the Trump campaign may help both the media mogul and the contentious Republican presidential candidate. Trump and Ailes have reportedly been friends for many years, despite Trump’s swipes at Fox News and Megyn Kelly during the Republican primary debates.
One of Donald Trump’s most tenacious gaffs was his continued battle with Megyn Kelly, both on the debate floor and on social media. Trump accused the reporter of targeting him unfairly as early as the first Republican debate.
One exchange between Kelly and Trump during that debate set the tone for Trump’s continued berating. At the August 6, 2015 debate, Kelly asked Trump, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
Trump replied in his combative style, “What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry, I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn’t do that to you.”
During their continued back and forth in the following months, Trump demanded Kelly be removed as moderator from future debates and suggested that her demeanor was caused by menstruation. Trump took the fight to the Fox News network as well, but that doesn’t seem to have spoiled his relationship with Ailes.
Ailes and Trump reportedly met last Sunday at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Although aides connected with the Trump campaign will acknowledge the meeting happened, there is still some disconnect among Trump surrogates.
Politico reports that campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denied a solid relationship between Ailes and the Trump campaign. She stated, “He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign.”
In an extensive piece about Ailes and Trump in the New York Times, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has also seriously denied Ailes’ involvement in the campaign. However, the symbiosis of the media savvy news man and the bombastic politician seems undeniable.
Before he became CEO of Fox News in 1996, Roger Ailes had an extensive career in politics as a seasoned debate coach. Ailes was an adviser to the Nixon campaign and helped humanize the candidate to the American people. The media vet also trained former president Ronald Reagan in 1984 and prepared George Bush for his debate against Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Ailes could be a much needed breath of fresh air in the stagnant Trump campaign. Their misogynistic ideologies go hand in hand and Ailes has intimate knowledge of how the media, especially Fox News, works and how Trump can spin that to his advantage.
This news comes at a time when Trump is fighting an uphill battle against himself. The presidential candidate has faced a number of media blunders in the last few weeks, including mocking the family of a fallen American soldier, and making allusions to the assassination of his rival Hillary Clinton.
Ailes is the only person who may be able to reign in Trump’s off-the-wall debate style in time for the first presidential debate on September 26 at Hofstra University in New Jersey.
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