Roger Ailes Advising Trump on Debates, But No Formal Campaign Role, Sources Say

Ailes resigned as Fox News Chairman last month.

ByJOHN SANTUCCI and CANDACE SMITH
August 16, 2016, 3:51 PM

— -- Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is advising Donald Trump on his debate preparation, but does not have a formal role in the campaign, sources told ABC News.

The two men, who are longtime friends, met last Sunday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey, according to senior level campaign sources. Trump has also gone to Ailes for advice on debates and the two have continued their relationship through phone calls.

Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied any connection between Ailes and the Trump campaign.

"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," Hicks told ABC News in a statement.

Ailes left Fox News in late July following allegations of sexual harassment by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed suit against him.

In July, Ailes issued a statement denying the claim.

"Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup," the statement said. "When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit."

Trump has been complimentary of Ailes in the aftermath of his departure from Fox News. In a recent interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd, the Republican candidate called Ailes "such a great guy," leading Todd to ask if Ailes was "helping" or "advising" Trump.

"Well, I don't want to comment," said Trump, "But he's been a friend of mine for a long time."

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