It remains to be seen if Donald Trump will actually agree to appear at any or all of the scheduled presidential debates, but in any event Trump is now being advised by Roger Ailes.
The New York Times reports that the disgraced Fox News chief and serial harasser will help Trump prepare for the debates and possibly more.
Mr. Ailes is aiding Mr. Trump’s team as it turns its attention to the first debate with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, on Sept. 26 on Long Island, according to three people briefed on the move, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Two of them said that Mr. Ailes’s role could extend beyond the debates, which Mr. Trump’s advisers see as crucial to vaulting him back into strong contention for the presidency after a series of self-inflicted wounds that have eroded his standing in public opinion polls.
Just as this news is not necessarily surprising to me, I also wouldn't be surprised if Roger Ailes is involved in the creation of the Trump News Network.
Ailes began his television career by producing ads for Richard Nixon. Ending it by producing bullshit for Donald Trump would be emblematic.
The Trump campaign, to the extent that it exists, has issued a denial saying Ailes has no role with the campaign, but we can't necessarily buy that at face value. It's possible the decision has already been made but no one bothered to tell the staffers who released a very quick statement.
If the Times report is true, it would feel like another 'fuck you' to the women who've worked and continue to work for Fox News. To the best of our knowledge, virtually all of them were subjected to Ailes' advances at one point or another. At least one of his accusers said he forced her to dance and filmed it. Another accuser says Ailes used the network to funnel young women into his office. The list goes on.
It's entirely plausible that Ailes could help found a Fox News competitor under the Trump brand.