The hiring of former Fox News co-president and Hannity pal Bill Shine as deputy chief of staff in charge of communications not only furthers the Foxification of the White House but adds yet another abuser of women and men to Team Trump.
Gabriel Sherman’s latest in Vanity Fair sums up Shine’s record:
Shine comes to the job with significant baggage. In May 2017, he was forced out of Fox in part because of his role enabling sexual harassment (Shine denied knowledge of Ailes’s behavior). By far the most controversial part of Trump’s decision to hire Shine is Shine played a central role in facilitating Ailes’s sexual and psychologically abusive relationship with former Fox executive Laurie Luhn. As I previously reported, Ailes blackmailed Luhn by videotaping her in lingerie and coerced her into performing sex acts on him for nearly 20 years. Luhn told me that Shine summoned her from Washington to meet with Ailes in New York. Shine monitored Luhn’s e-mails to make sure she wan’t talking about Ailes, Luhn told me. Shine also arranged for Luhn to see a psychiatrist after she suffered an emotional breakdown.
Shine comes to the job with virtually no experience personally dealing with the press. In his role at Fox, he rarely granted interviews, having imbibed Ailes’s worldview that reporters were the enemy. While I was researching my Ailes biography in 2012, Ailes directed Shine to rally Fox personalities to tweet negative things about me. (In a tweet, Hannity called me a “PHONEY [SIC] JOURNALIST.”) Two sources told me Shine was also aware of Ailes’s use of private investigators to harass and intimidate journalists. “This guy is up to eyeballs in shit,” a Republican close to the White House said. In a normal West Wing, Shine’s baggage would be disqualifying.
In March, when Fox News contributor John Bolton became national security adviser, I wrote that Bolton’s history of abusive behavior (such as chasing a contractor through the halls of a hotel, pounding on her hotel-room door and shouting threats at her) was part of a pattern:
Bolton joins a long line of abusers Donald Trump seems to favor as associates and/or friends: Rob Porter, Andrew Puzder, Corey Lewandowski, Sebastian Gorka (a former Trump adviser), Bill O’Reilly and Michael Cohen spring to mind. Trump also didn’t let accusations of pedophilia stop him for campaigning for Roy Moore. Recently, Eric Bolling has advised the White House and has signaled an interest in working for Trump.
Shine, I think we can assume, will fit right in.
Not only that, he’s already in line for a promotion, according to Sherman. Unofficial Chief of Staff Sean Hannity has reportedly been urging Trump to hire Shine and is pushing for him to replace the official chief of staff, John Kelly, who is said to be leaving.
(Shine image via screen grab)