Nepotism giveth, and nepotism taketh away. Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times broke the news that Lara Trump, wife of Donald Trump’s son Eric, will no longer be a paid Fox News contributor. “We appreciate Lara’s valuable contributions across Fox News Media programming,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement.
The media company portrayed the split as amicable, citing Donald Trump’s November 15 announcement that he will run for president for a third time. The Times noted, “Fox News has made it a rule to not employ people running for office or directly connected to active campaigns.”
But as the Washington Post explains, that policy previously only applied to the candidates themselves:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the decision to sever ties with Lara Trump stemmed solely from the network’s ban on political activity, though the policy generally applies to commentators who announce their own campaign runs, such as former Fox News contributor Sarah Sanders — who left the network when she announced her bid for governor of Arkansas — rather than to relatives of announced candidates.
It’s possible that Fox News executives genuinely believe that having any Trump on the payroll is a bad look as the 2024 campaign heats up. But it seems highly plausible that Lara’s career as a cable-news commentator has actually fallen victim to Rupert Murdoch’s reported decision to turn his back on Donald. Following Republicans’ disappointing midterms performance, the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal ran an editorial dubbing Trump the GOP’s “biggest loser.”
And another Murdoch property, the New York Post, ran this cover:
Followed by some absolutely savage coverage of Trump’s 2024 announcement:
Both on-air and online, much of Fox News’s post-midterms coverage has depicted Trump as the GOP’s past and Florida governor Ron DeSantis as its future (or “DeFUTURE,” as the Post declared in a front-page headline).
Lara Trump had been an exception, but last month Fox Business Network anchor Stuart Varney went as far as questioning the Trump mojo to her face.
Lara joined Fox as a paid contributor in March 2021, when her father-in-law was riding high after being acquitted in his second impeachment trial. At the time, Lara was considering a run for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina and appeared on the network frequently.
“I sort of feel like I’ve been an unofficial member of the team for so long,” she said when her new role was announced on Fox & Friends. “You guys know, it was kind of a joke over the past five years, I would come there so often that the security guards were like, ‘Maybe we should just give you a key.’”
Today, Lara is no longer part of the Fox team, she’s not mulling a run for the Senate or any other political office, and she does not appear to be working for the Trump 2024 campaign in an official capacity. Fox News said she’s free to go back to making unpaid appearances on the network, but that’s not really the Trump way.
This piece was updated to include Trump’s response to Lara’s dismissal.
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