The government of Qatar, in an apparent attempt to win political influence with a historically unfriendly Trump administration, has sought a stake in the media company Newsmax, Politico reported Tuesday.
Citing unnamed people with knowledge of the talks, Politico reported that Qatari officials have met multiple times this year with representatives of the company. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy (pictured above), a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, told Politico that its reporting was “all false,” and Qatari officials declined to comment to Politico.
One unnamed source cited by Politico said the talks between Newsmax and Qatar have taken place in both New York and at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida. Tom Barrack, a close friend of Trump’s who reportedly met with Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s team, helped set up the talks between Newsmax and the Qataris, according to Politico’s Ben Schreckinger.
Another Trump pal, TOM BARRACK, has helped facilitate the talks, which have taken place in New York and at Mar-a-Lago, in recent months. Current status of the talks is unclear https://t.co/LjBdZaxnyt
— Ben Schreckinger (@SchreckReports) May 8, 2018
Qatar has sought to solidify its relationship with Trump after the President backed a Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-led blockade of the country last year. The blockade exposed a rift between Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who called on the Gulf states leading the effort, also including Egypt and Bahrain, to ease the blockade.
The Qataris are considering a $90 million investment in Newsmax, per Politico. Prefacing an interview last year with Ruddy, Miguel Forbes claimed Newsmax “does in excess of $100M in annual revenue.”