It looks as though the Trump family may be putting their reportedly grand scheme for a post-2016 election Trump media company in motion.
According to a report from the Financial Times Monday, Jared Kushner — Ivanka Trump’s husband and the owner of the New York Observer — has “informally” reached out to one of “media industry’s top dealmakers,” Aryeh Bourkoff. Here is the Financial Times’s report:
Mr. Kushner — an increasingly influential figure in the billionaire’s presidential campaign — contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank, within the past couple of months, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. ... The approach suggests Mr. Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalise on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month.
In June, Vanity Fair was first to report the possibility of a Trump “mini-media conglomerate”; however, the Trump campaign and family have vehemently denied all such reports.
But in a campaign that has seen Trump make a series of surprising and politically unwise decisions — like feuding with core figures within the Republican Party, showing a lax adherence to his party’s own principles, and openly defying the establishment GOP’s calls for a “presidential” candidate — a Trump media corporation seems like a plausible end game for an election cycle that has brought rise to a fringe line of thought. After all, Stephen Bannon, CEO of the far-right news site Breitbart, is also running Trump’s campaign. (Bannon has said he has no interest in starting a media company.)
Trump has had a contentious relationship with the media this election cycle, notably conservative media — prompting what the New York Times calls a “civil war” in right-leaning news. Mass-market conservative media outlets, like Breitbart, Drudge Report, and Fox News, have seemingly sided with Trump’s messaging this election, compared with the more critical, high-toned voices of National Review and the Wall Street Journal.
And especially for a candidate who has been trailing by more than 10 points in the polls less than a month away from Election Day, is currently in the middle of a slew of sexual assault allegations, and has long been claiming that the election in November will likely be rigged if his opponent Hillary Clinton wins, it would also make sense that Trump has another media-oriented plan for after Election Day.
Then again, as New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait put it, it is also “highly plausible that these moves make no sense at all, that Trump is simply an uncontrollable madman lashing around. ... The ‘Trump TV’ hypothesis is the foundational question that ultimately answers the truly-crazy-or-just-acting-crazy mystery surrounding the Republican nominee.”