White House communications chief Bill Shine resigned from his position Thursday, after only eight months, and will serve as a “senior adviser” on President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
“Serving President Trump and this country has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life,” Shine said in a statement. “To be a small part of all this president has done for the American people has truly been an honor. I’m looking forward to working on President Trump’s re-election campaign and spending more time with my family.”
Trump echoed Shine’s comments in his own statement.
“Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the administration,” Trump said. “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!”
But behind the amicable statements, sources said, there lies the usual discontent between both parties.
One former Fox executive told The Daily Beast that Trump had complained in recent months about Shine’s seeming inability to get more positive press coverage for his administration. “Trump loves a yes-man,” the source said, “but he loves good press more.”
The former exec added: “He feels he was sold a bill of goods by Hannity,” referring to how Shine was introduced to the president via the Fox News primetime star who has long acted as an unofficial Trump adviser. “But Trump needs Hannity and so he will never attack him publicly.”
And it wasn’t just Trump who appeared frustrated with the current state of affairs. According to another source familiar with the situation, Shine had recently expressed that the eight months in the Trump White House had been extremely stressful for him.
By the end of his run, he seemed amenable to a campaign post that could potentially keep him involved and with access to the upper echelons of Trumpworld, but without the heavy lift of being the president and White House’s top comms chief and strategist.
Last week, while President Trump and senior officials were swamped overseas during a high-profile summit in Vietnam with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Shine was back stateside, and was even spotted casually killing time and enjoying the nightlife at an annual conservative conference just outside of Washington, D.C.
Shine and his wife, Darla, were also seen wandering the halls of the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), checking out the exhibits hub and mingling with figures such as Donald Trump Jr. in the VIP section of a TPUSA party.
Despite his new gig as a “senior adviser” to the president’s re-election campaign, it is unclear what duties he’ll formally fill. Trump 2020 spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany did not respond to questions about whether Shine’s job would involve communications or political strategy.
Shine was formerly the co-president of Fox News, and was largely viewed as late chief Roger Ailes’ henchman. Given Trump’s already cozy relationship with Fox at the time, Shine’s appointment was viewed as a symbol of the often-criticized ties between the news organization and the president.
Last year, he stepped down from his role at Fox after being accused of enabling and enforcing a culture of sexual harassment at the network under Ailes. One former Fox & Friends host told The New Yorker that “[Ailes] would wake up in the morning with some bee in his bonnet, spout it off to Bill Shine, and Shine would tell us to put it on TV.”
Even before joining the Trump administration, Shine had been informally advising the West Wing. As The Daily Beast reported at the time, the former Fox News co-president didn’t have many job offers following his scandal-plagued fall from the network, and was spending some of his free time giving advice and media strategy to senior Trump officials on TV.
Furthermore, the president told those close to him that the ousted Fox News co-president was, in Trump’s words, handed a raw “deal” from the conservative media behemoth, according to three people who were present for such conversations.
The president has also conveyed this opinion that Shine and Ailes were both thrown under the bus by Fox News, and Trump has said that this opinion reinforced the president’s already existing skepticism and hostility toward the #MeToo movement, which emerged in the months following Shine’s Fox exit. (Trump himself has faced many allegations from women of sexual harassment and assault.)
Shine did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment. At the time, his phone also appeared to be turned off and its mailbox full.
—Maxwell Tani contributed reporting.