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Former Fox Chief Ailes Could Be Trump's Chief Strategist, Sources Say

Former Fox Chief Ailes Could Be Trump's Chief Strategist, Sources Say
(Jim Cooper/AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 July 2016 01:14 PM

Sources close to the Trump campaign say the possibility is “real” that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes could have a major role in Trump’s campaign, including as serving as its chief strategist.

On Sunday, the political establishment was rocked when Trump was asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if Ailes was already advising him

Trump said, "Well, I don't want to comment. But he's been a friend of mine for a long time.”

Trump added, “I've always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he's done. So I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he's going to run my campaign."

The development that Ailes may have been advising Trump, and now may serve in a more robust way, will have a seismic impact on Trump’s chances of defeating Hillary.

One campaign source says the two have long talked often by phone, and that won’t change.

But Trump has an opportunity to bolt onto his campaign staff the most formidable presidential campaign adviser alive today.

As the founding CEO of the Fox News Channel, Ailes' switchblade intellect and keen instinct for the TV medium guided his network's swift march to the pinnacle of cable TV's ratings.

For over two decades he brought political messaging to cable news, for immense ratings success and profits.

Every 24-hour news cycle has been a nonstop effort to push favorites and punish enemies.
Hillary has long been in the crosshairs.

It was Fox that kept the flame of the Benghazi story alive. The federal probe of that led directly to Hillary's email server woes.

Only in his 20s, he was spotted and identified by Richard Nixon during his 1968 presidential run to handle media. Ailes did a masterful job, and elected the unlikeable Nixon in a close race.

Later he would help Ronald Reagan in his 1984 re-election, and was George H.W. Bush's chief strategist in 1988, a race many believed would be lost to the Democrats and Michael Dukasis.

"It's all anybody's talking about," Newsmax commentator, former Fox contributor and best-selling author Dick Morris said of news Ailes may be helping Trump.

"Ailes for example was a strong and early supporter of Donald Trump, and biased Fox News incredibly in Trump's direction," Morris said.

Media writer Jeff Bercovici tweeted Tuesday: "You have to wonder, if Ailes had gone down a year earlier, would we be talking about Trump as the nominee right now?"

To ask the question is to answer it.

Ailes created the in-your-face media coverage that Trump has thrived on.

New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported that Ailes had recently turned to Trump for advice on dealing with 21st Century Fox and the media storm.

No surprise here.

A source close to the Trump campaign tells Newsmax that Ailes is not only a close friend of Trump, but that Ailes has been informally advising Trump from almost the beginning of his campaign.

Trump's dust-up with Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate last year did not affect Trump's relationship with Ailes, the sources say.

The irony is that Fox insiders say Kelly had been quietly furious with Ailes and the network for not backing her up as Trump mocked and ridiculed her publicly.

Some Ailes allies see her statements to internal investigators claiming sexual harassment as simple payback.

Without Ailes at the helm, it is doubtful Fox will have the same sense of political urgency in its messaging. It was well known that Ailes was the orchestra conductor there.

"Think of Venice in the 13th century — a lot of palace intrigue," Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz told Newsmax. "People outside the organization, unless they have a really good handle on it, talk more than they really know."

For the GOP and the Trump campaign, the prospect of a weakened, distracted Fox News without Ailes' strong hand at the helm is unsettling at best.

Berkovitz said Ailes' departure would "rock conservative media," while raising serious questions about the network's leadership as the November elections loom.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a fellow at the conservative Family Research Council, told Newsmax, "Without that platform, without that opportunity afforded by a Fox to balance the scales, we're going to have a lot of public narratives that skew way to the left and distort political reality in America."

Morris noted that it has long been rumored Murdoch's sons, who have played an increasingly powerful role in the company, would like to see Fox's political coverage tack more toward the center of the political spectrum.

"They might well put somebody in office replacing Roger who will insist on that, and that could really hurt conservatism," warns Morris. "You'll have three networks, and CNN and MSNBC, all biased in one direction, and only Fox in the other. It would just distort the political scene."

Now attention is turning to how a wounded Fox News, without Ailes, would affect the looming elections.

"The departure of Mr. Ailes could have an impact on the Republican Party," the Financial Times reported. "Supremely well connected, he has helped shape the Republican agenda for more than a decade."

But what happens if Ailes decides he will take an official role in the Trump campaign as its chief strategist?

A Trump campaign source told Newsmax bluntly: "Donald will welcome Roger with open arms."

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Sources close to the Trump campaign say the possibility is “real” that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes could have a major role in Trump’s campaign, including as serving as its chief strategist.
roger ailes, donald trump, campaign
Monday, 25 July 2016 01:14 PM
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