Former Fox executive Bill Shine quits White House after Trump reportedly complained that he was misled about Shine by Sean Hannity

Trump reportedly “feels he was sold a bill of goods by Hannity” about Shine’s abilities, “but Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly”

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Former Fox News executive and Roger Ailes’ “right-hand man” Bill Shine has left his job as White House communications director to join President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign as a senior adviser -- despite reported complaints from the president about Shine’s poor performance.

A former Fox executive quoted in a March 8 report by The Daily Beast said that Shine’s exit comes partly because Trump “feels he was sold a bill of goods” by Fox News host and close adviser Sean Hannity, who may have over-promised Shine’s ability to get positive press attention. However, the former Fox executive added that “Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly.” From the March 8 article:

White House communications chief Bill Shine resigned from his position Thursday, after only eight months, and will serve as a “senior adviser” on President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

“Serving President Trump and this country has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life,” Shine said in a statement. “To be a small part of all this president has done for the American people has truly been an honor. I’m looking forward to working on President Trump’s re-election campaign and spending more time with my family.”

Trump echoed Shine’s comments in his own statement.

“Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the administration,” Trump said. “We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 presidential campaign, where he will be totally involved. Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!”

But behind the amicable statements, sources said, there lies the usual discontent between both parties.

One former Fox executive told The Daily Beast that Trump had complained in recent months about Shine’s seeming inability to get more positive press coverage for his administration. “Trump loves a yes-man,” the source said, “but he loves good press more.”

The former exec added: “He feels he was sold a bill of goods by Hannity,” referring to how Shine was introduced to the president via the Fox News primetime star who has long acted as an unofficial Trump adviser. “But Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly.”

Trump’s need to keep Hannity placated is yet another instance of the extraordinarily close relationship between Fox -- including its “news” team -- and the White House. Few Fox figures seem to be as influential on the president as Hannity, who has been described by White House insiders as a “‘shadow’ chief of staff.” The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer explored in-depth the influence that Hannity and the rest of Fox enjoy over the president, concluding that the battle for the network’s direction after co-founder Ailes left ended when “the opinion side of Fox News, which Shine had run, … won out,” as did “his friend Sean Hannity.”