Both the New York Times and CNN are reporting that former FOX CEO Roger Ailes, who was forced out of the network after a series of sexual harassment and retaliation allegations, is now working as an advisor to Donald Trump to help him with, among other things, debate preparation.
Ailes is considered to be a master at messaging. Before he was a media mogul responsible for the rise of FOX News, Roger Ailes was a highly sought after political operative and debate coach. Ailes worked with some of the biggest names in Republican politics.
When he prepped Ronald Reagan for his 1984 debate with Walter Mondale, he asked how he would handle a question regarding his age. When that question was asked during the debate, Reagan’s answer went down in history as one of the best comebacks in politics. Reagan replied, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
Ailes also worked as a debate coach for George H.W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani. As a political operative, he was a top adviser to Richard Nixon helping to soften his image when he ran for president in 1968.
There has been much speculation whether Ailes would assist Trump in any capacity after he was ousted from FOX News. After all, the two have been close friends for years and Donald Trump does have a messaging and image problem. Although his words, speeches, and tweets appeal to his base, Trump has seen himself falling in the polls as he has failed to capture the support of others outside his camp.
Trump has been criticized greatly for his tendency to continue attacking his GOP primary opponents for the past few months even though he became the presumptive nominee in early-May. Every time anyone in his campaign contends that we will see Trump pivot to become more presidential and run like a candidate does in a general election, Trump denies this claim and says his bloviating style has been working for him so far and he will not change.
Except now, Trump is getting obliterated in the polls. He is losing in battleground states, trailing in national polls, and is putting historically red states like Arizona, Georgia, and Utah in play for his Democrat rival and longtime friend, Hillary Clinton.
His campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, vehemently denies this report, claiming that Trump and Ailes are merely friends who talk frequently.
“This is not accurate. 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.”
If Roger Ailes is, indeed, advising Donald Trump and getting him ready for the debates, the campaign would be wise to not deny it. Ailes has had great success with many candidates in the political arena when involved with political campaigns. As CNN’s Dylan Byers asserts, “This is Roger Ailes bread and butter. He is a master of messaging. He’s credited with some of the most famous lines coming out of some of the great presidential debates for the various presidential candidates and candidates that he worked for.”
The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is scheduled for Monday, September 26.
h/t Red State