President Donald Trump is in advanced talks with Bill Shine, a longtime Fox News executive, to become his communications director, administration officials said Wednesday.
The negotiations remain fluid, administration officials cautioned, but Shine is viewed inside the White House as the front-runner for the post, which has been vacant for several months since former communications director Hope Hicks left the administration.
Several internal candidates have jockeyed for the job but have been unable to convince Trump.
Shine is expected to visit the White House this week, officials said, and has met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Shine could not be immediately reached for comment. The news of Shine’s discussions with Trump were first reported by Fox News.
Shine was forced out of the network in May 2017 after lawsuits suggested he enabled the alleged sexual harassment conduct of Roger Ailes, the network’s longtime chairman and chief executive. Ailes died in May 2017. Shine also advocated for the network keeping Bill O’Reilly after the popular host was accused of harassment — and reports emerged that he paid millions in settlements.
Shine was seen as a low-key executive and company man at Fox News, serving as co-president of the network before leaving.
The move would not be unusual for Trump, who obsesses over his TV coverage and often thinks about policy through a lens of how it will play on the television.
He frequently watches Fox News and often fixates on how his policies will resonate on the network, which he sees as key to keeping his political base. He keeps in frequent touch with such hosts as Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro.
The president often talks about his high ratings on the “Apprentice.”
Trump has made a number of positive comments about Shine to other aides and has talked for months about bringing the former TV executive onto his West Wing staff.
It is unclear whether Shine would be a prominent public personality in the administration. Hicks, a trusted Trump confidante, was rarely on camera. However, Anthony Scaramucci, who served as communications director for 11 days last summer, had a bombastic and public persona.
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