Top aides Trump picked from Fox News, CNBC

Trump has bestowed more interviews on Fox News than any other news outlet.

    Larry Kudlow, Heather Nauert, and John Bolton [The Associated Press]
    Larry Kudlow, Heather Nauert, and John Bolton [The Associated Press]

    President Donald Trump's favourite TV network is increasingly serving as a West Wing casting call, as the president reshapes his administration with camera-ready personalities.

    "He's looking for people who are ready to be part of that television White House," said Kendall Phillips, a communication and rhetorical studies professor at Syracuse University.

    Phillips added, "This is the Fox television presidency all the way up and down."

    TV hires

    • Bolton: Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, is a former UN ambassador, a White House veteran - and, perhaps most importantly, a Fox News channel talking head. 

    • Bolton's appointment, rushed out late Thursday, follows Trump's recent attempt to recruit Fox guest Joseph diGenova for his legal team.

    • Bolton went on Fox to discuss his selection and said it had happened so quickly that "I think I'm still a Fox News contributor."

    • Nauert: The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was a former Fox News anchor. 

    • Kudlow: Recent TV-land addition to the Trump White House is veteran CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, as top economic adviser.

    • Schlapp, Sayegh: Other Fox faces on Trump's team include communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, who were both former Fox commentators.

    • DiGenova, who has accused FBI officials of trying to "frame" Trump for nonexistent crimes, will not be joining the legal team because of "conflicts", said Trump counsel Jay Sekulow. 

    • Sekulow, however, said diGenova and his wife, attorney Victoria Toensing, also a frequent commentator on Fox, would not be prevented from helping Trump "in other legal matters".

    WATCH: The Trump Show


    Fox News

    People close to the president say he thinks Fox provides the best coverage of his untraditional presidency.

    • It also provides him a window into conservative thinking, with commentary from Republican legislators and right-wing thinkers - many of whom are speaking directly to the audience in the Oval Office.

    • On-air personalities Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are favourites of the president, who also speaks to them privately.

    • Earlier in March, Trump promoted Hannity on Twitter, saying: "@seanhannity on @foxandfriends now! Great! 8:18 A.M."

    • The president's early-morning tweets often appear to be a reaction to Fox programming. For example, in March, Trump tweeted that he was "considering" a veto of a massive spending bill needed to keep the government open, not long after it was assailed on "Fox and Friends" as a "swamp budget".

    Critics 

    • The critic in question was contributor Pete Hegseth, a favourite of the president, who has been rumoured to be a possible replacement for embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

    • Fox News came in for criticism this past week from CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who on Thursday attacked the rival network by saying it has become a propaganda machine that is "doing an incredible disservice to the country".

    • Zucker spoke at the Financial Times Future of News conference two days after a former Fox military analyst quit, claiming he was ashamed at the way the network's opinion hosts were backing Trump. Zucker said that analyst Ralph Peters voiced what a lot of people have been thinking about Fox in the post-Roger Ailes era.

    • Also appearing Friday was White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway - herself a constant presence on cable news - who pushed back at the idea that Trump was focused on hiring TV personalities.

    • "The irony is not lost on me that you have a lot of quote 'TV stars' calling Larry Kudlow and John Bolton 'TV stars,'" Conway said.

    Has Donald Trump broken the media?

    UpFront

    Has Donald Trump broken the media?

    SOURCE: AP news agency


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