The New York Times is reporting that former Fox News head Roger Ailes “is advising Donald J. Trump as he begins to prepare for the all-important presidential debates this fall.” Trump has repeatedly defended Ailes, who has been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment.
Trump has defended, praised, and counseled Ailes amid the many sexual harassment claims against him. Trump called the accusations “Totally unfounded, based on what I read,” and said Ailes is “a very, very good person” and “a friend of mine for a long time.”
As Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert has noted, Ailes and Trump are inextricably linked since “without Fox News' exaggerated support over the years, and without Fox providing endless free airtime in the form of promotional blitzes to tout Trump as White House material, it's unlikely Trump today would be perched atop the Republican Party.”
The Times reported that Ailes “is aiding Mr. Trump’s team” and “Ailes’s role could extend beyond the debates”:
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.
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.
It was not clear when Mr. Ailes began helping the campaign. He resigned his post at Fox News on July 21 amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by former female employees that occurred after a lawsuit by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
It was also not immediately known whether Mr. Ailes, who received $40 million in an exit agreement with Fox News, will be paid for his work on the campaign, or how much time he will be devoting to it. Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is also not being paid.