Trump’s campaign today is denying that departed Fox News chief and longtime White House race strategist Roger Ailes is “advising” the candidate as he preps for the upcoming debates with Hillary Clinton.
With Trump relatively subdued this week — though the week is young, and he is doing a town hall with FNC’s Sean Hannity tonight — and with TV news needing to feed its election-cycle ratings beast, the latest report that Trump’s longtime pal Ailes is giving the GOP nominee debate advice got red hot today.
“This is not accurate. He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep,” Trump’s campaign said today in a statement credited to spokeswoman Hope Hicks. “They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign.”
It’s unclear how concerning this subject is to voters, especially when stacked up against other recent Trump headlines, including his thoughts on President Obama’s role in the formation of ISIS, etc. But it’s a juicy topic for Reporters Who Cover Politics. Ailes resigned from Fox News on July 21, as FNC’s parent company investigates allegations of sexual harassment by former female employees, including a lawsuit filed by former show host Gretchen Carlson.
And of course, everyone’s Most Memorable Donald Trump Campaign Moments listicle includes the candidate having told CNN’s Don Lemon, the morning after that first record-breaking GOP debate, that when former Ailes employee Megyn Kelly asked him about his recent incendiary comments about women, she had “blood coming out of her – wherever.”
Taking a bit of the wind out of the Trump campaign’s statement, his adviser/surrogate Jack Kingston subsequently said today, “I don’t think any campaign is going to tell everything to everybody – and they’re under no obligation to say – who is going to be speech coaches, who is going to be in the back room.”
Kingston acknowledged today that “Roger Ailes has tremendous experience in terms of coaching candidates,” telling CNN that Ailes might be “a resource for debate purposes.”
Outside of his TV news career, Ailes is well known for having advised campaigns for Republicans Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including debates.
“If we’re going to count all the sins of supporters,” Clinton’s campaign might have some explaining to do, Kingston added.
The former congressman from Georgia did, however, promise, “Certainly Donald Trump would not take advice on employee relations from Roger Ailes.”