Though Roger Ailes resigned his top seat at Fox News last month following accusations and lawsuits over sexual harassment of female employees, the New York Times reports Tuesday that Donald Trump has brought the disgraced executive aboard his campaign to "advise" him ahead of upcoming presidential debates.
"Just when we think Donald Trump can’t get more shameful, he proves us wrong. Simply put, Donald Trump is dangerous for women and decisions like these prove that he is wholly unfit to serve as President of the United States." —Nita Chaudhary, UltraViolet
"Mr. Ailes," the Times reports, "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."
Though the Times' sources did not reveal how long Ailes has been assisting the Trump campaign, two of the three said his role "could extend beyond the debates."
Reports have indicated that Trump has been consulting with Ailes throughout his campaign, but when asked about the accusations levied against Ailes by NBC News last month, Trump called him a "very good person" and disparaged the women reporting the harassment by suggesting they should be more grateful to their former boss who "helped" them so much in their careers.
For feminist critics of Trump, the reporting came as just further evidence underscoring their concerns.
"The fact that Donald Trump is seeking out the advice of a serial sexual harasser to advise his campaign should tell all voters in this country everything they need to know about Trump and how he would govern," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, in a statement. "By hiring Ailes, the Trump campaign is normalizing sexual harassment, excusing violence against women, and proving that - to Donald Trump - no attack on women is unacceptable. Just when we think Donald Trump can’t get more shameful, he proves us wrong. Simply put, Donald Trump is dangerous for women and decisions like these prove that he is wholly unfit to serve as President of the United States."
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Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, threw up his hands at the news: "I know, I know, it's Donald Trump. His dedication to sleaze is off the charts. But seriously, Roger Ailes? After reading about the stuff he did at Fox News for 20 full years, he ought to be shunned from polite society for the rest of his miserable life. Instead, Trump is hiring him as his media coach. Jesus."
Already struggling with female voters due to his history of sexist and degrading comments, Trump's overall poll numbers have nosedived in recent weeks. Though the unnamed sources who spoke to the Times indicated the Trump campaign sees the upcoming debates "as crucial to vaulting him back into strong contention for the presidency," if the reaction to the news on social media is any indication, the hiring of Ailes may not have the intended results:
Apparently Donald Trump thinks Roger Ailes -recently fired for sexual harassment- advising his campaign will help pic.twitter.com/nUsVq4h0Q3
— Alex Morash (@AlexMorash) August 16, 2016
So Trump's campaign starts with casting immigrants as sexual predators and ends with him being advised by one: https://t.co/59tmtuAmTi
— Alan Elrod (@aselrod) August 16, 2016
Ailes: Prep time!
Trump: They're gonna ask if I'm sane.
Ailes: Pivot to the game changer! Saving men accused of serial sexual harassment!
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 16, 2016
If after sexism Trump already displayed, a woman still voting for him, not sure Ailes' involvement will matter much. https://t.co/GhzYQJL0iM
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) August 16, 2016
Defies all parody and credulity: Ailes is now advising Donald Trump on debate prep https://t.co/vjuljIaz5K
— Joel Pavelski (@joelcifer) August 16, 2016
— Locke (@LockeLiberal) August 16, 2016