Ex-Fox Executive Exits White House With Trump Angry at Bad Press

(Bloomberg) -- Senior White House aide Bill Shine, a former executive at Fox News, has resigned from his position after eight months amid President Donald Trump’s deepening frustration over negative news coverage of his administration.

Trump had lost some confidence in Shine in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. The White House has been battered by an endless stream of negative news, including, mostly recently, public testimony from the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and the high-profile collapse of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

But the departure of Shine, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications, was also related to a payment from Fox News as part of his severance package, according to two people familiar with the matter. The White House recently put out a call to Trump’s campaign to find a position for Shine.

Shine left Fox in 2017 after being forced out of his position as co-president over his handling of sexual harassment scandals. He has disclosed severance payments from the company of more than $15 million.

The White House, in announcing his departure, said Shine had offered his resignation on Thursday and it was effective Friday. Trump isn’t actively searching for a replacement for Shine, two people familiar with the matter said.

Shine will join Trump’s campaign as a senior adviser following the request from the White House for campaign manager Brad Parscale to take him on. It is evidence that while Trump may not have been satisfied with Shine’s work in the White House, he still wants him on his team.

“We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 presidential campaign, where he will be totally involved,” Trump said in a statement. “Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!”

Trump’s frustration with recent negative news coverage wasn’t confined to Shine, but he shouldered the bulk of the president’s dismay. Overseeing Trump’s communications approach has proved a difficult job, given the president’s constant consumption of cable news and the close attention he pays to his public image.

Shine was the fifth person to hold the title White House communications director under Trump. That matches the number presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton each had over both of their terms.

Communications directors have traditionally focused on strategic thinking and planning, while the press secretary is largely focused on immediate news cycles. Trump believes the job of the communications director is to help him shape the news cycle -- according to one source familiar with his thinking -- something he felt Shine was not always able to do.

Trump has privately disparaged Shine to aides, saying it had become clear to him that it wasn’t Shine who built Fox News.

During Shine’s tenure, the White House all but eliminated daily briefings by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and introduced occasional straight-to-camera web videos of Trump pushing his priorities of the day. The president, meanwhile, has taken to holding many informal question-and-answer sessions with reporters in the Oval Office or at events -- sometimes more than once per day.

A New Yorker article published Monday detailed the White House’s close interactions with Fox News and noted that Shine’s arrival last year further cemented the overlap. Shine worked closely with former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who left his job after a string of sexual harassment allegations were made against him. Shine has been accused of helping cover up misbehavior at the network.

Shine’s financial disclosure forms show that he’s continued to take in payments from Fox News parent company Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. that total more than $15 million, including an $8.4 million severance payment, as well as a bonus and options of about $3.5 million in 2018 and 2019.

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