Although a Washington Post deep dive into Jeanine Pirro’s entanglement with Donald Trump highlights how the two have scratched each other’s back for decades, a subtext is that Pirro’s unethical behavior has never been an issue for him. Fox News doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it, either.
I’ve written many times about Pirro’s sleazy history and, frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for a mainstream media outlet to shine a spotlight on it since she became a Fox News host and presidential insider. So kudos to Washington Post reporter Sarah Ellison for reporting on Pirro's marriage to an allegedly Mafia-tied, real estate lawyer for Trump (according to New York magazine, there was a retainer agreement). The now ex-hubby later served 11 years in jail for tax fraud – for several fraudulent tax returns she cosigned. Pirro later came under investigation for planning to possibly illegally wiretap her then-husband when she suspected him of cheating – after he had already fathered a child during their marriage.
Ellison focused on the bonds between Pirro and Trump. Though Ellison doesn't directly address the matter, it's striking how Trump seemingly had no problem with any of Pirro's shadiness. For example, Ellison wrote about the aftermath of Mr. Pirro's conviction and sentencing: It was the beginning of the end for Jeanine’s political career. Many of the Pirros’ friends drifted away, but a core group rallied around her, including Trump. Trump and Jeanine were “very close,” said David Hebert, Pirro’s longtime aide, especially when Al was in prison. “He was very helpful to her when a lot of people were distancing themselves.”
In return, Pirro has used her show to expressly help Trump, not just promote his policies. Ellison reveals how, during the 2016 campaign, after Trump came under fire for having called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy,” Pirro (who made a name for herself as a champion of battered women) went on offense on behalf of her pal: “Donald, you don’t need to talk about this,” Pirro told [Trump], according to a person who heard the conversation. “We’ll take care of it.” (Pirro denies saying this.) Days later, Pirro leaned in to the camera and did her best to take care of it. “Although he may be impolitic, and while I am not a fan of things he said 20 years ago about a woman under a contractual obligation to maintain her appearance,” she paused, shifting to address Hillary Clinton directly, “your history with women is all about destroying them.”
When Pirro was suspended from her show after a bigoted attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar, Ellison reports that Pirro “went straight to Trump to discuss the punishment, according to two people close to Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch. The president called Murdoch to urge that Pirro be put back on air, these people said, a development first reported by Vanity Fair.”
Although anyone watching her show even once can see what a toady Pirro is, Ellison uncovered more evidence of Pirro using her show for personal gain - and to settle a personal score: She has, they said, threatened to “go straight to POTUS” if White House press aides rebuffed her requests for interviews or if Trump mentioned media personalities other than her in his speeches. […] For a while, Trump considered Pirro for a Washington job, interviewing her for a top Justice Department position under Jeff Sessions — a job she lobbied hard to get, according to a senior administration official. But Sessions blocked the appointment, the official said, after which Pirro attacked Sessions on her show for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Then there's this: Since the inauguration, according to campaign filings, she has earned more than $230,000 for paid speeches for Republican groups, such as a March 2018 fundraiser for the Kern County Republican Party in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s California district. The day after the speech, McCarthy appeared on Pirro’s Fox show and complimented her on the talk. Pirro and McCarthy spent their time together pushing Trump’s effort to “drain the swamp” because, McCarthy said, “you can’t trust what’s happening.”
It’s not a surprise that Pirro and Trump should behave so disreputably. But what’s Fox News’ excuse for allowing it to happen?
Watch the Washington Post mashup video of Pirro shilling for Trump below.
Published with permission from News Hounds.