It didn't take long for Roger Ailes to find a new job.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Ailes — the former Fox News boss who resigned last month in the wake of an overwhelming number of sexual harassment allegations against him — was advising Donald Trump ahead of the GOP presidential nominee's highly anticipated debates against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The optics of the partnership, considering Ailes' still unresolved sexual harassment scandal, are not great. Perhaps that's what led the Trump campaign to vehemently deny any association between the candidate and Ailes, aside from the pair's friendship.
"He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign," campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks told multiple news outlets, including NBC. Hicks added that "they speak occasionally, which isn’t news."
Trump is eyeing the first debate with Clinton on Sept. 26 as a way to turn around his poll numbers, which have been in free fall since the party conventions as a results of a series of self-inflicted wounds. Trump could use some help, so Ailes is not a totally surprising resources for him to tap — Trump has expressed a willingness to retain controversial figures as advisers before, such as former campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski.
According to the New York Times, Ailes’s role could extend beyond the debates. If the Times report is true, it is not clear when exactly Ailes joined the Trump campaign. He resigned from Fox News on July 21.
In the last month, more than 20 women came out to publicly accuse Ailes of sexual harassment and fostering an environment conducive to harassment at Fox News. The wave of allegations began with a lawsuit brought by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. Ailes resigned after an internal investigation into his behavior. He led Fox News since its launch in 1996, building it into a highly rated, conservative leaning powerhouse.