Fox News contributor Karl Rove, a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, appeared Monday on Fox & Friends for a wide-ranging discussion on topics such as the solemnity of Memorial Day, the debate over states reopening businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, and the ongoing presidential race.
One topic that was never discussed: Rove has been advising the Trump campaign. Rove’s informal involvement with the Trump campaign was reported over 10 days ago, and since then, he has appeared on Fox multiple times. But his role has not been disclosed during those appearances.
Toward the end of the Monday segment, Rove and co-host Ainsley Earhardt discussed a story that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is set to hold a private online fundraiser for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, contrasting it against Warren swearing off such high-dollar events during her own presidential campaign. During the discussion, Rove castigated Warren for the fundraiser, calling for “transparency” regarding the donors:
“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 Times reported that Rove had “warned Mr. Trump that he had fallen behind in the task of damaging Mr. Biden, people familiar with the meeting said.”
Business Insider later reported additional details about Rove’s work with the Trump campaign, such as his focus on battleground states and down-ballot races, though he is not getting paid for the advice.
Instead, Rove argues that he is not “informally advising” the campaign, but instead merely is providing them with “unvarnished advice”:
Rove did not comment for this story, but asked about this report six hours later on Fox News Radio, he downplayed his role with the campaign.
Asked by Fox News Radio host Guy Benson if it would be "fair to say you are occasionally informally advising the Trump campaign?" Rove replied, "I think even that's too far. Occasionally Brad is kind enough to call me and to say, 'What do you think about this?' And I'm happy to give him my unvarnished advice and he can do with it what he will."
But neither Rove nor Fox News have acknowledged his role during his TV appearances on Fox since then, either on opinion shows or the network’s purported “news”-side coverage.