Fox’s disgraced former CEO, Roger Ailes, has officially joined the Donald Trump campaign. Will Ailes become Trump’s campaign manager? It was rumored last month that Trump wanted him in that role. UPDATED
As you probably know, Ailes was fired from Fox News last month as a barrage of sexual harassment complaints and cover-up allegations have been reported. But predatory sexual behavior is no problem for Trump!
According to The New York Times, Ailes is now serving as an advisor to Donald Trump and helping him prepare for his debates with Hillary Clinton:
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 on Long Island, according to three people briefed on the move, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Not only that, Ailes – who suddenly has plenty of time on his hands – could stay on as an advisor after the debates, The Times notes:
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.
But is this really a new role for Ailes or just one that he can now be more open about? Ailes, who has been friendly with Trump for decades, has reportedly advised him in the past. In April, a Republican strategist alleged in a lawsuit (against Trump and his former campaign manager) that she had seen an email from Ailes to Trump asking to know "what Fox could do to help." And given that Ailes has long put political goals over any journalistic scruples (assuming he ever had any), who can doubt that Ailes would have played such a part while he was at Fox? The Times reports, “It was not clear when Mr. Ailes began helping the campaign.”
In July, before Ailes’ ouster was completed, Michael Wolff wrote in The Hollywood Reporter, “[T]he rumor of Ailes replacing Paul Manafort as campaign manager is an active one, with a further rumor putting Trump in favor of this and his children against it.”
Now that Manafort has been implicated in a pro-Russian corruption scandal, and with Trump slumping in the polls, it’s easy to see how Trump would be happy to have Ailes take over. After all, just yesterday, Fox’s own Greg Gutfeld acknowledged that Trump’s whole campaign came from Fox.
UPDATE: The Trump campaign has denied Ailes' involvement but CNN's Dylan Byers explains why you should be skeptical, in the video below, from CNN's August 16 Wolf, via Media Matters.
Caricatures of Trump and Ailes by DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (CC BY-SA 2.0).
It’s still possible that he could pull out of this crash dive, but that will require him to suddenly become a master of debating. If he doesn’t, the debates will effectively attach the cement overshoes to his downward momentum.