For years, Fox News has provided a comfortable staging ground for Republican politicians to prepare for future political runs while collecting a fat check as network contributors. But rarely has that ethical con been as brazen as with Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law to former President Donald Trump who became a Fox contributor last month and is considering a run for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.
Trump appeared last night on the program of Sean Hannity, the longtime GOP hype man and sometime adviser to Donald Trump. She was paired with former NFL running back and Trump supporter Herschel Walker so that Hannity could promote them both as potential Senate candidates.
At the top of the interview, Hannity told Trump that “last poll I saw, in terms of getting the nomination, you're up by a whopping 15 points. And a winner -- you would win the general election according to that poll.” He returned to that poll later in the segment.
“Lara, I assume in your case there's a lot of pressure, but it is amazing that you really -- the American people and the people of North Carolina -- that's your home state, that's where you're born and raised -- know you so well, they are showing incredible confidence in you,” he said. “That's got to give you reason to pause somewhat, no?”
Trump responded by saying that she appreciates the support, suggested that she is one of the “strong leaders” needed to “get this country back on track,” and added that she is still considering a run.
“Again, nothing to break here on Hannity tonight,” she said. “But maybe Herschel and I will come back together and give you our final decision. We'll see.”
Hannity replied, “OK. Be like the final episode of The Apprentice. We'll do a two-hour special, you know?”
Trump was part of Fox’s post-election hiring binge of the former president’s associates. The network now employs at least nine veterans of the Donald Trump orbit. One of her new Fox contributor colleagues, Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is considering a presidential run and on Wednesday appeared with the conservative Republican Study Committee to promote legislation targeting Iran.
In Lara Trump’s first appearance as a Fox contributor, she acknowledged that network executives were aware she was considering a run for office when they hired her, adding that they would “make sure that everything, all the rules are followed and we do everything properly,” a likely reference to termination of her contract if she formally announces a run for office.
But until then, Fox is happy to keep sending her checks while she uses the network to promote her future candidacy. And Hannity appears eager to support another Trump, even as the Senate Republican primary field in North Carolina continues to build.
Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch acknowledged last month that the network is serving as the “loyal opposition” to the Biden administration. But even by that standard, openly incubating a Senate campaign is beyond the pale.