Donald Trump on Roger Ailes’ Fox News Exit: ‘Very Sad’

Donald Trump GOP Republican Convention
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Donald Trump, in a taped appearance for NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, defended Roger Ailes but was coy about whether the recently departed Fox News chief was advising his campaign.

Ailes resigned on Thursday in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment, but there were reports that he had conversations with Trump last week as the Republican National Convention unfolded.

Asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd whether Ailes was advising his campaign, Trump said, “Well, I don’t want to comment. But he’s been a friend of mine for a long time. And I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he’s helped them. And even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him.”

Trump added, “And now all of a sudden they’re saying these horrible things about him. It’s very sad. Because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he’s done. So I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he’s going to run my campaign.”

Trump then said, “My campaign’s doing pretty well.”

In his first post-convention speech sit-down interview on Friday, Trump talked to Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin, and praised Ailes.

“I think it’s so sad. He’s such a great guy. Roger is – I mean, what he’s done on television, is in the history of television, he’s gotta be placed in the top three, or four or five,” Trump said. “And that includes the founding of the major networks. So, it’s too bad. I’m sure it was friendly. I know Rupert [Murdoch]. He’s a great guy.”

The interview, conducted on Trump’s jet as he was traveling back to New York from Cleveland, will be featured on Showtime’s “The Circus.”