Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine has been hired by President Donald Trump in a top White House communications role, the administration announced Thursday.
Shine, who was fired by Fox News last year over his role in handling the many accusations of sexual misconduct by top network stars and executives, will have the title assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications.
Shine replaces Hope Hicks, who stepped down as White House communications director in March, but the Fox News veteran will hold a loftier title that signals a bigger, more expansive role than was held by previous communications directors like Hicks and Sean Spicer.
He is expected to play a major role at the White House heading into this fall’s mid-term elections.
According to White House 2017 salary disclosures, the deputy chief of staff title will net Shine an annual salary of $179,000, significantly more than the salary posted for past communications directors.
Shine is a polarizing figure who assumed leadership of Fox News and the Fox Business Network, along with Jack Abernethy, in the days after longtime CEO and president Roger Ailes was forced out of the company in July 2016 after multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
Ailes died in May 2017 at age 77.
Shine himself was fired from Fox News in 2017 over his role in covering up a number of sexual misconduct accusations for his former boss. He is known to be close to both Fox News primetime star Sean Hannity and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
In a Buzzfeed story published on Thursday, a number of unnamed critics were quick to call out the White House for bringing on a communications director with a history of covering up workplace abuses.
“It’s extraordinary that the president of the United States could hire someone like this,” an unnamed senior Fox News executive told the site. “This is someone who is highly knowledgeable of women being cycled through for horrible and degrading behavior by someone who was an absolute monster.”
“The optics of hiring someone with a real problem of dealing with workplace harassment … are very problematic,” said a former White House official.
Since we now pay Bill Shine’s salary, feel like we’re owed a full accounting of his role in covering up nearly two decades of sexual harassment and blackmail.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 5, 2018
The communications director post was vacant since Hicks left the job in March, leaving insiders and experts worried Trump was considering just serving in the role in a de facto capacity himself.
Here is the announcement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2018
President Donald J. Trump Announces Senior Staff Appointment
President Donald J. Trump announced today that Bill Shine will join the White House staff. Mr. Shine will serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. He brings over two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience to the role. Previously, Mr. Shine served as Co-President of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.