Trump Looking Beyond |Election to New Network? | Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | Back issues
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Trump Looking Beyond |Election to New Network?

(CN) - Is Donald Trump already looking beyond a loss in the presidential election and toward founding his own television network?

That's the suggestion of the Financial Times of London which on Monday reported that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has "informally approached" the founder of a boutique investment bank about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after Nov. 8.

Trump, who trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by 11 points nationally in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released over the weekend, has denied the rumors in the past, telling The Washington Post, "I have no interest in a media company. False rumor."

Trump's denial was prompted by a Vanity Fair report last month that his advisors were exploring the idea as a way to capitalize on the populist movement that has sprung up around his campaign should he lose the election.

And yet despite GOP candidate's denial, the whispers about the coming of a Trump Network as evidenced by the Financial Times report persist.

The primary reason is the close ties Trump's campaign has to conservative media titans.

Since August, the Trump campaign has been led by Stephen Bannon, chairman of the rightwing Breitbart new sites, which the Financial Times says is on a global expansion push, adding operations in Germany and France to those it already operates in the United States and Israel.

Then there's Trump's friendship with Roger Ailes, who left Fox News this summer amidst a sexual harassment scandal.

Ailes, who has been acting as an informal advisor to Trump since the Republican National Convention in July, would be prohibited from working on a Trump television network by the terms of his exit agreement with Fox.

However, many of Fox News' biggest names specifically, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly could jump ship and join a Trump network as both have escape clauses in their contracts that allow them to leave Fox News now that Ailes is no longer at the helm.

According to the Financial Times, Jared Kushner, who married Ivanka Trump in 2009 and is the principal owner of Kushner Properties, a real estate holding company, and The New York Observer newspaper, contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder of chief executive of LionTree, an investment bank.

Bourkoff launched LionTree in 2012. Since then he has acted as advisor on Liberty Global's $23.3 billion acquisition of Virgin Media and Verizon's $4.4 billion takeover of AOL, among other transactions.

Bourkoff is said to be a personal friend of Kusher and Ivanka Trump, and also was an advisor to Kushner when he made an unsuccessful attempt to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2012.

The report doesn't pinpoint the date of the meeting except to say it occurred "in the past couple of months" and that to date, at least it hasn't progressed beyond that first "brief" conversation.

The Financial Times cites three people "with knowledge of the matter" as the basis of its report.

Neither Kushner nor Bourkoff immediately responded to emails from Courthouse News seeking comment.

The Trump campaign similarly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, polls released Monday from Rasmussen Reports and George Washington University show Clinton in the lead nationally in the race for the White House, with the latter suggesting she's actually pulling away from her GOP rival.

The Rasmussen poll shows Clinton leading Trump 43 percent to 41 percent among likely voters, while support for Libertarian Gary Johnson has wanned a bit, dropping to 5 percent, while the Green Party's Jill Stein holds steady at 2 percent.

Clinton had been leading the Rasmussen until the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, when Trump briefly pulled ahead, 43 percent to 41 percent.

The George Washington University battleground poll suggests that Clinton is close to taking an unassailable lead in the race, garning the support of 47 percent of likely voters, compared to Trump's 39 percent.

Clinton gained 5-points since the previous GW Battleground poll in early September, while Trump lost a point of support.

Johnson and Jill Stein collectively lost 3 points in the latest polls, Johnson getting 8 percent while Stein took 2 percent.

The poll was conducted Oct. 8-13, after a tape of Trump from "Access Hollywood" came to light, and spanned the second presidential debate.

"Read together, hese poll result indicate that increasing numbers of voters are accepting the Hillary Clinton.Democratic Party frame of this election as a referendum on Donald Trump's unfitness for the presidency," said Michael Cornfield, associate editor at CW's Graduate School of Political Management and research director of GW's Center for Politkcal Management.

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