After being ousted from the conservative news network he ran almost single-handedly for two decades, former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes is now advising the Republican presidential candidate, according to a report in the New York Times. The Trump campaign, however, denies it.
Ailes was forced to leave Fox News after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging the network chairman sexually harassed her on multiple occasions. Following the lawsuit, as many as a dozen other women who had worked at the network came forward and said that Ailes harassed them as well, although the former Fox chairman and CEO has denied any wrongdoing.
He left Fox with a settlement that has been estimated at $40 million.
According to the Times, Ailes is now advising Trump on how to get ready for an upcoming debate with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Before he joined Fox, Ailes was a former media advisor to President Richard Nixon, as well as other political figures.
The former network executive “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,” the Times said, citing “four people briefed on the move.”
The Trump campaign, however, denies that the former Fox head is engaged in any kind of advisory role with the candidate or his team, either formal or informal, although it acknowledges that the two men are friends.
“This is not accurate,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement, referring to the New York Times report. “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.”
Despite the denial, CNN is also reporting that Ailes is helping Trump prepare for the debates, according to its own anonymous sources. The two “speak frequently,” according to the report, and their conversations “have increasingly turned toward Trump’s approach to Hillary Clinton on the debate stage.”
The two men also spent time together last weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., CNN said. And the two have also discussed “other matters related to his campaign” in addition to how to prepare for the debates, the news outlet reported.