Breitbart Denies Taking Money From Trump For Favorable Coverage

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo

Breitbart has denied a report from BuzzFeed News about an alleged “pay for play” agreement between the conservative news site and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins reported late Sunday that some Breitbart staffers expressed concern about the news site’s glowing coverage of the real estate mogul. Two anonymous staffers told Coppins that they’d been told of a purported financial arrangement between Trump and Breitbart, while a third told the reporter that managers at the news site had overruled editors at the billionaire’s request.

An anonymous source who Coppins described as a “conservative communications operative who works closely with Breitbart” added that one staffer with the news site had evidence of a “pay for play” arrangement that allowed Trump to shape coverage.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ requests for comment. But Steve Bannon, Breitbart’s executive chairman, denied the allegation of such a financial arrangement in a lengthy statement to the news site.

“We have no financial relationship with Donald Trump as an investor, advertiser or in any other capacity at this time — nor have we ever,” Bannon said in the statement, as quoted by BuzzFeed. “The insinuation that we do — or did — is a lie. Mr. Trump is a savvy and successful businessman but not the type of investor I partner with in emerging growth companies.”

Roger Stone, the top Trump adviser who quit or, in Trump’s telling, was fired from the campaign this past weekend, also denied that the billionaire had paid for Breitbart to generate positive headlines.

“It’s funny because both [Newsmax’s] Chris Ruddy and [The Daily Caller’s] Tucker Carlson called me this morning to ask where their payoffs are,” he told Daily Beast contributor Matt Lewis with a laugh. “That is, to my knowledge, totally false. Trump has never paid for any kind of media coverage, online, or otherwise – at least as far as I know.

This post has been updated.