Fox contributor Karl Rove is advising the Trump campaign — and Fox News doesn't disclose it

Fox News anchor Dana Perino, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, welcomed back her old colleague, former Bush deputy chief of staff and Fox News contributor Karl Rove, on Thursday afternoon for a discussion of how presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden was supposedly lurching to the left.

While the topic was Biden’s cooperation with former primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders in the drafting of the Democratic platform, one relevant detail was not mentioned at all during the interview: Rove has also been closely advising the Trump campaign on the election itself.

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Citation From the May 21, 2020, edition of Fox News’ The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino

KARL ROVE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): This seems to me to be an opportunity for the hard left of the Democratic Party to pressure Joe Biden into endorsing their issues when it comes to things like health care, rather than what he sort of suggested he was, which was more of a traditional Democrat.

In fact, AOC, who is the co-chair of the climate committee, said that before she accepted the appointment, she talked with the social justice movement, and she will be responsible — responsive to them.

You know, that doesn't seem like much of a team player. So I think he’s buying himself some trouble here. He either alienates the left of his party, or he appears to go too left and alienates the suburbanites, who I think are going to be key to his victory.

NBC News reported last week that Rove had visited the White House earlier that week, meeting with both President Donald Trump and chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has consulted Rove since the 2018 midterm elections, per three people familiar with the discussions,” NBC reported. “Before the pandemic, Rove had advised the Trump campaign it could be modeled, in some ways, after the Bush 2004 re-election race.”

The New York Times reported on May 15 that Rove had met with the president and “warned Mr. Trump that he had fallen behind in the task of damaging Mr. Biden, people familiar with the meeting said.”

Business Insider reported Thursday with additional details about Rove’s work with the Trump campaign, such as his focus on battleground states and down-ballot races:

In the time since those initial NBC News and New York Times reports, Rove has made other appearances on Fox’s purported “news”-side coverage. While he discussed the upcoming presidential election, neither Rove nor Fox News’ anchors disclosed that he was advising Trump on the campaign itself.

Rove appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the ginned-up “Obamagate” controversy being pushed by Trump and right-wing media regarding the investigation of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. “Now, is it going to settle the election? No, I don't think so,” Rove said. “But it does ask some very serious questions that need to be answered.”

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Citation From the May 17, 2020, edition of Fox News Sunday

And he appeared Tuesday on Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, again with no disclosure that he was advising the Trump campaign.

During the segment, Rove defended Trump against backlash over the president’s statement that he was taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which Fox News has promoted extensively as an unproven prophylactic and treatment for coronavirus. Rove chalked up criticism of Trump’s advocacy for the drug as being itself an aspect of partisan backlash:

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Citation From the May 19, 2020, edition of Fox News’ Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream

KARL ROVE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, two words — “Donald Trump.” If you like him, you like him. If you don't, you don't think he does anything right. And if he says, “A,” you want to say, “Z.” And we're seeing this on the discussion about the president taking this prescription.

I saw some comments by Dr. [Sanjay] Gupta on CNN, they were just sort of way over the top. The president sat down with his physician, said, “I want to explore the possibility of getting this,” he and his physician discussed it, and his physician prescribed it. End of story.

This is a drug that has been prescribed for malaria and some other ailments for decades, and tens of thousands of people are using it virtually every day, even in the United States, hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions around the world because it's funded — primarily an antimalarial drug.

So, you know, it's just — it’s amazing to me that we let this go as long as we have. You know, the president wasn't moving fast — didn't need to move fast enough, or didn't need to move fast — then he was moving too fast on China, and then he's not moving fast enough on testing, and then testing doesn't matter.

And, you know, it's just — it's amazing to me how polarized we are in this moment where we ought to be trying to find some unity, and muting some of the partisanship.

Note: It doesn’t actually count as “muting some of the partisanship” to be a behind-the-scenes adviser to the Trump reelection campaign, but not disclose it when you’re on the air.