Former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes is helping Republican Donald Trump to prepare for the upcoming presidential debates, The New York Times reports.
Ailes — who resigned from Fox last month amid sexual harassment accusations from several women — is putting his political strategist skills to work for Trump, the Times reported Tuesday afternoon. It was not clear if he would be paid by the campaign.
The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Earlier in his career, Ailes was an adviser to President Richard Nixon's campaign and helped President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush with debate prep.
Ailes also worked for Rudy Giuliani during his failed 1989 campaign for New York City mayor. Giuliani, who later went on to serve as mayor of the Big Apple for eight years, is a strong supporter of Trump and is stumping for him on the campaign trail.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told The Washington Post the Times report is false.
"They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign," Hicks said.
Trump praised Ailes during an interview with Newsmax TV last week, crediting him for building Fox News into the leading cable news channel.
"He's a man who has done an amazing job building Fox, an amazing job — but I think he's been given credit for that," Trump told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth.
"I speak to Roger on occasion now. The job he's done at Fox is probably unprecedented in television history. That's the only thing I know."
The relationship between Trump and Ailes got a bit rocky last year when Trump called out Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly for what he thought was an unfair line of questioning during a debate. That led to a months-long feud with the network and his decision to skip another debate hosted by Fox.
Last week, Trump told Newsmax TV he will use "veto power" if he does not agree with the person scheduled to host each debate.
"We want a moderator that's going to be fair," Trump told Hayworth. "If we have a fair moderator, then it's going to be wonderful.”
Democrat Hillary Clinton will join Trump onstage at the debates, while the two third-party candidates — Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein — have an outside chance at earning a spot. They have to garner an average of at least 15 percent support across five national polls to get a debate invite.
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