Ousted Fox News head Roger Ailes and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have fallen out and are no longer speaking, sources say.
Emily Jane Fox of Vanity Fair reported on Wednesday that New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman and Vanity Fair editor Sarah Ellison have both been informed that the longtime friends Trump and Ailes are no longer on good terms, but the reasons for the parting of ways vary according to who you ask.
“Ailes’s camp said Ailes learned that Trump couldn’t focus — surprise, surprise — and that advising him was a waste of time,” Sherman said Tuesday morning at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit. “These debate prep sessions weren’t going anywhere.”
Ellison said that the Trump camp’s position is that Ailes was useless during debate prep.
“Even for the second debate, Ailes kept going off on tangents and talking about his war stories while he was supposed to be prepping Trump,” she said.
The souring of the two men’s formerly collegial relationship could have implications for Trump’s purported ambition to start his own TV network, Trump TV. When Ailes began advising the campaign — within weeks of his separation from Fox News — many media watchers speculated that Ailes was part of Trump’s TV team, along with campaign CEO and Breitbart.com executive Steve Bannon.
The rupture in the men’s years-long friendship comes just as Trump is weathering the storm of an ever-expanding sexual harassment scandal. The accusations against Trump are remarkably similar to those which ended Ailes’ reign atop Fox News. Both men are accused by multiple women of making unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and kissing, fondling and coercion.
Ailes was personally sued in July by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson, who secretly taped Ailes in their private meetings. Carlson alleged that Ailes made multiple suggestions that they should enter into a sexual relationship, that frequently made off-color comments about her body and pressured her and the other women at Fox to dress more provocatively on the air.
Trump has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women after leaked audio revealed him boasting to former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that his fame allows him to kiss women with impunity and “grab them by the pu**y” without repercussions.