Sinclair Broadcast Group has retained former Trump official Robert Wasinger as its newest lobbyist. Wasinger is also a right-wing pundit who mounts over-the-top defenses of President Donald Trump and dismisses mainstream media outlets as “fake news” and “very unfair” to the president.
Sinclair’s contracting of Wasinger is the latest connection between the Trump administration and the local television broadcasting company. Most notably, Sinclair regularly airs the pro-Trump propaganda of former White House official Boris Epshteyn on dozens of stations across the country.
Wasinger is a senior vice president at the lobbying firm McGuireWoods Consulting. He has also appeared in the media as an adviser for America First Policies, a political nonprofit dedicated to helping Trump.
He worked as a senior official for the Trump campaign before briefly serving as White House liaison to the State Department in 2017. Wasinger then became a lobbyist despite, as ProPublica wrote, Trump’s “executive order requiring every political appointee to sign a pledge as a condition of taking office. The appointees agreed not to lobby the agencies they had worked in for five years after they left government service. Nor would they lobby anyone in the White House or political appointees across federal agencies for the duration of the Trump administration.” (Wasinger told ProPublica that “he never signed the pledge and was never asked to sign one.”)
Wasinger regularly appears in the media, where he extols Trump’s purported achievements and attacks media outlets as “fake news.” He’s written pro-Trump opinion pieces for right-wing outlets such as Breitbart.com, Townhall, Daily Caller, and Big League Politics.
In May 2017, Wasinger praised Trump in a piece for being “able to transcend the unremitting attacks by going around the mainstream media” and “turning that hostility into his advantage” during the 2016 campaign. He then recommended Trump continue to, in part, utilize “friendly outlets with much larger audiences than CNN.”
He wrote in July 2017, “Trump has successfully called the bluff of the fake news narrative on ‘Russian collusion,’ provoking a credibility meltdown not just at CNN but encompassing the entire mainstream media obsessed with destroying his administration on the flimsiest of pretexts.”
During a March 2018 appearance on C-SPAN, Wasinger said that Trump “is a very nice man, very generous man, and I think he’s gotten a bad rap from a lot of people in the media and that’s again, that’s why these rallies and the communications with Twitter and social media is so effective. He’s going above and around the media to get his message out.”
He later told C-SPAN that Trump “has gotten very unfair treatment from the media” and said he thought that the “liberal establishment is kind of flailing at this point because the media is the one institution that they have left having lost the presidency, lost the House, the Senate. We have 33 governors and they’re desperate to get back into power and have used the media to hurt the president to try and get back into power.”
Beyond pro-Trump criticism of the media, Wasinger has praised his former boss for having allegedly “upended the feckless globalist agenda that characterized the Bush-Clinton-Obama era, reversing the toxic mix of appeasement, international cowardice, and neo-colonialist interventionism that had brought America’s standing in the world to new lows.” He claimed that Trump may have actually “underestimated the degree to which the Obama administration and the conflicted and very biased Deep State agencies cooperated to cover up illegal behavior on the part of Hillary Clinton and pursue phony investigations into Trump campaign activities in a heavy-handed attempt to insure a Clinton victory.” And he complained that “legislative wranglings ... have tied up and maligned large parts of Trump’s agenda – like building the wall, stopping illegal immigration and sending the ‘dreamers’ back to their god-forsaken homes.”