Bill Shine, the former Fox News executive who joined the White House staff last summer to manage President Trump’s communications operation, has resigned and will move to Trump’s re-election campaign.
Shine’s abrupt departure came as a surprise to many in the White House and was revealed, as such personnel moves often are in this administration, as the president was on Air Force One leaving Washington.
While described by admiring White House colleagues as a rare adult in the room, Shine has sometimes been absent during key moments, including the president’s trip last week to Vietnam.
Colleagues said he had developed little chemistry with Trump, and critics increasingly focused on Shine’s ties to Fox, where he was forced out for his handling of sexual harassment claims.
In a meeting late Friday morning with communications staff members, Shine told colleagues that he was leaving for two reasons, according to a person familiar with what took place.
He said that he lived a solitary existence in Washington and missed his family, who remained in New York.
But the second reason, he said, was that he had become a distraction for Trump and did not see that changing.
The White House sought to present Shine’s resignation as amicable and issued statements in the name of the president and other officials praising him.
But people close to the White House described the campaign job as a way to save face.
“Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the administration,” Trump said in his statement. “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. Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!”
Shine, who held the title of deputy White House chief of staff, was the sixth person to accept the job to manage communications for the Trump White House, a position that has been problematic given that Trump prefers to be his own chief spokesman and rarely sticks to a messaging plan that aides seek to establish.
Shine’s presence in the White House was seen as emblematic of how closely Trump has aligned himself with Fox, a symbiotic relationship that drew a critical appraisal in a much-read New Yorker article published this week.
Trump has given the network about 45 interviews as president, using it to communicate with his most fervent supporters even as he embraces lines of argument that its hosts advance.
Mr. Trump regularly posts messages on Twitter reacting to reports he sees on Fox and has been said to privately talk on the phone with Sean Hannity, the network’s marquee star, many nights after Hannity’s show.
The line between the White House and Fox grew even blurrier last fall when Trump invited Hannity and another host, Jeanine Pirro, to join him onstage for a campaign rally, after which Shine and Hannity were seen sharing a high-five.
The president routinely praises Fox hosts from the podium during speeches, and according to The New Yorker article, he has privately rated Fox hosts on a scale of 1 to 10 based on their loyalty to him. (Hannity got a 10.)
Shine, who is personally close with Hannity, came into the White House with great fanfare last year. Initially, people there — particularly those close to John Kelly, then the White House chief of staff — described Shine favorably, but as time wore on, it became clearer that Shine had not developed a close relationship with Trump.
Shine had spent more than a year searching for another job after he was ousted from Fox amid the scandal surrounding Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly and the accusations of sexual harassment that were made against them.
Shine was not himself accused of improper behavior, but was faulted for a culture that sought to cover it up.
Attribution:The New York Times