Trump Campaign Denies NYT Report That Ailes Will Help With Debate Prep

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August 16, 2016 12:30 p.m.

This post has been updated.

The Donald Trump campaign on Tuesday quickly denied a report in the New York Times that disgraced former Fox News executive Roger Ailes will advise the campaign and help Trump prepare for his debates with Hillary Clinton.

“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 the Hollywood Reporter.

Hicks later told the New York Times, “They speak occasionally, which isn’t news.”

The Times reported earlier on Tuesday that Ailes, who resigned from Fox News in July amid a corporate probe into several sexual harassment claims against him, will help Trump with debate prep and possibly more. The Times reported that it’s not clear whether Ailes will be paid or when he began advising the Trump campaign.

Ailes jumping to the Trump campaign would not come as a big surprise. The anchors at Fox News have often gone easy on Trump and his struggling campaign, and Sean Hannity has even announced his support for the Republican candidate.

Trump and Ailes have been friends for a while. The two clashed when Trump refused to attend a Fox News debate during his feud with host Megyn Kelly, but the two quickly resolved the issue. And when Ailes came under fire after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, Trump came to the former Fox executive’s defense. He also reportedly advised Ailes on how to navigate the allegations.

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