If you thought the relationship between Fox News and the Trump administration was close when patriarch Donald was president of the United States, you just had a wait a little longer.
The network has been snapping up members of Trump’s inner circle since he left the White House. On Monday, Fox News tapped the family power structure by hiring the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as a paid pundit.
“Welcome to the family, Lara,” “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt said as she announced the news during a morning show. “Yay!”
Hiring Lara Trump, who is married to the former president’s son Eric Trump, formalizes her relationship with the network, on which she has regularly appeared as a guest over the last several years, on both opinion and news shows.
Lara Trump acknowledged as much in her debut performance on “Fox & Friends” Monday. “I sort of feel like I’ve been an unofficial member of the team for so long,” she said. “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.’ ”
She said she was “so, so excited” to join the network, where her husband also appears as an occasional guest.
After appearing regularly on Fox News himself for many years, Donald Trump became angry at the network during the presidential election last year, when Fox was the first major network to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden. Fox subsequently lost some longtime viewers to Newsmax, a more reflexively pro-Trump cable news network.
But the former president has appeared on Fox regularly since leaving the White House, most recently joining Jeanine Pirro for a phone interview on her Saturday night program, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” And the network’s recent spree of hiring Trump’s confidantes suggests the relationship has been repaired.
Fox hired former Trump administration press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as a contributor earlier this month. Former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow recently launched his own show for Fox Business Network. And Trump’s first White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, worked for the network as a contributor before leaving to pursue a run for governor of Arkansas.
Lara Trump, 38, worked as a producer for the syndicated newsmagazine show “Inside Edition” before marrying Eric Trump in 2014. Last year, she put her TV experience to use during her father-in-law’s reelection campaign, as a sort of in-house host for the campaign’s digital media effort, including a program she dubbed “the real news.” She also hosted a campaign-produced online panel show called “The Right View,” which served as a sort of pro-Trump answer to ABC’s “The View.”
She is also considering a run for U.S. senator in her home state of North Carolina. On Monday, Lara Trump said her potential political aspirations would not preclude her TV career. “Fox has been very generous with me,” she said. “They have said, ‘Look, if that’s something that you ultimately decide to do,’ they’re going to work with me on that front and make sure that all the rules are followed and we do everything properly. So, thank you to the Fox team for allowing me to have the possibility that that’s in the future.”
By hiring Trump, Fox News might be hoping to glean insight into her father-in-law’s plans. Network host Brian Kilmeade plied his new colleague for information when she joined him on his show Monday.
“Are you getting the sense that he’s getting set to run again?” Kilmeade asked.
Lara Trump responded with what sounded like a campaign speech.
“Look, he is doing what he feels he needs to do,” Trump said. “He’s standing up and continuing to speak out for the 75 million-plus Americans that voted for him. He has not forgotten about them. They will not be left behind by President Donald Trump. And, quite frankly, it’s one of the reasons that I’m so happy now to be part of the Fox family, because I hope every single day I can represent them here on Fox.”
“We’ll see you at the Christmas party,” Kilmeade said.