Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman ousted last month over charges of sexual harassment, is advising Donald J. Trump as he begins to prepare for the all-important presidential debates this fall.
Mr. Ailes is aiding Mr. Trump’s team as it turns its attention to the first debate with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University on Long Island, according to four people briefed on the move, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Two of them said that Mr. Ailes’s role could extend beyond the debates, which Mr. Trump’s advisers see as crucial to vaulting him back into strong contention for the presidency after a series of self-inflicted wounds that have eroded his standing in public opinion polls.
For Mr. Ailes, being connected with Mr. Trump’s campaign could be a form of redemption after he was pushed out of the powerful network that he helped build. And for Mr. Trump, having Mr. Ailes taking a hand in his preparations for the debates adds immeasurably to the messaging and media expertise in his corner — and could raise alarms within Mrs. Clinton’s camp about just how aggressive Mr. Trump plans to be in those encounters.
And, you might have guessed, the suggestion that the Fox founder, “disgraced” by sexual harassment claims, has the potential to further fuel the left’s narrative of Trump’s misogyny.
There’s one problem with the NYT’s story: according to the Trump campaign, it apparently isn’t true.
As the Washington Examiner notes, the Trump campaign is refuting Ailes’ involvement.
A spokeswoman for Donald Trump on Tuesday refuted a New York Times story that said former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who left the network in July amid sexual harassment charges, is helping Trump prepare for his debates with Hillary Clinton this fall.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the Times story is “not accurate,” and said Ailes is not helping with debate prep and has no role with the campaign.
“This is not accurate,” Hicks told the Examiner. “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.”
The NYT story cites anonymous sources who have supposedly been briefed on the matter — and, if you believe the NYT, are therefore close to the campaign but yet willing to leak to none other than the decidedly-unfriendly-to-Trump NYT? Sorry, but can’t help but be reminded of the NYT story from the other day, which again cited anonymous sources — “more than 20 Republicans who are close to Mr. Trump or in communication with his campaign, many of whom insisted on anonymity to avoid clashing with him” — who “described their nominee as exhausted, frustrated and still bewildered by fine points of the political process and why his incendiary approach seems to be sputtering.”
To be clear, not suggesting that one should ever take a campaign’s word at face value — quite the contrary. However, it’s a bit hard for me (Michelle Jesse) to buy the idea that sources close to, and supposedly supportive of, the Trump campaign would be disclosing that confidential information to The New York Times, of all places — the same publication who also published the story about Trump’s “crossing the line” with women (later refuted by many of those named) and selective compilation showcasing “coarse, vitriolic, even violent language” at Trump rallies. The New York Times, much like CNN, is not even thinly veiling its anti-Trump agenda. And, as such, “news” emanating from that source should be viewed through very wary eyes.
That said, should Ailes be viewed as a pariah to the Trump campaign, given the allegations leveled against him at Fox? Or simply a sound choice for strategic counsel, as someone who played an instrumental role advising successful Republican presidential candidates — Richard Nixon (in 1968), Ronald Reagan (in 1984), and George H.W. Bush (in 1988)?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]