During a pre-taped interview with "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that aired Sunday morning, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump came to the defense of longtime frenemy, Roger Ailes, calling him "a good person," and "very talented," while downplaying allegations of sexual harassment made against the recently ousted Fox News chief.
When asked by Todd to address rumors that Ailes is advising his campaign, Trump said: "Well, I don't want to comment, but he's been a friend of mine for a long time.
"I can tell you that some of the woman that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them. And even recently," Trump explained to Todd, referring to charges made by Gretchen Carlson and other Fox employees that Ailes sexually harassed them during their time at the conservative media network. "And when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him. And now, all of a sudden, they're saying these horrible things about him. It's very sad."
In fact, the "help" to which Trump seems to be referencing is connected to one of the more odious allegations made by Carlson, who charges that workplace advancement at Fox News correlated to her tolerance (or lack thereof) of Ailes' harassment and propositions.
Trumps comments come after months of friction between the two moguls, exacerbated by Trump's treatment of Fox anchor Megyn Kelly during the primaries, for which Ailes reportedly asked Trump: "What the hell is wrong with you?" and demanded the candidate apologize. Trump, for his part, was alleged by New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman to be in possession of an "arsenal" of secrets about the Fox boss, which may have been used for leverage to receive preferential treatment from the network.
Whatever secrets might have been in Trump's possession may now be moot, as Ailes' News Corp bosses have begun the process to remove the Fox News founder in response to the harassment allegations.
Trump continued his Ailes adulation, telling Todd, "I've always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look at what he's done. So I feel very badly."
As for Todd's original question as to whether Ailes is, or would soon be, actively working to put Trump in the White House? It's a charge Trump seemed to dismiss, saying simply: "My campaign's doing pretty well."