It appears Scottie Nell Hughes has a new job—at a news outlet frequently criticized as a propaganda outfit for the Russian government.
Just a couple years ago, Hughes was one of the most nationally visible and hardcore Trumpworld luminaries. The conservative author and onetime Tea Party News Network news director frequently appeared on CNN as a prominent pro-Trump contributor. She was praised and oft-watched by Donald J. Trump himself, enjoyed some face time with him during the 2016 race, and campaigned for him as an early supporter in 2015.
She was a high-profile enough Trump booster that she was even lampooned on NBC’s long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live, in a 2016 sketch she knocked at the time as an example of “the ultimate sexism.”
Hughes wanted a job in the Trump administration, or to at least remain a player in news media or the commentariat. Then, after the dust settled from Trump’s shock election-night victory, she found herself without a White House gig, and later at the center of a media scandal where she sued Fox for allegedly blacklisting her after she accused Fox Business Network host Charles Payne of rape.
Since last year, Hughes had seemed an exile in the pro-Trump communities in which she once was a star. “I’m dead in the water now,” she told The Washington Post late last year. “I can’t be touched by any media or any network.”
Not quite, it seems.
Recently, Hughes updated her job description on her personal Facebook page to state that she works for RT America, a propagandistic, Kremlin-friendly news organization, previously known as Russia Today. Last year, RT had to register as a foreign agent following a protracted standoff with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two sources familiar with the situation tell The Daily Beast that Hughes and RT have been in serious talks in recent weeks for her to assume a full-time position at the Washington, D.C., bureau. The position discussed was for a news anchor job, not for her to serve purely as a conservative, pro-Trump pundit, as she used to do at CNN.
Hughes and RT’s press office and DC bureau did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story, and did not confirm if a job offer is finalized and formally accepted.
But for anyone following Hughes on social media, this likely doesn’t come as a shocking development. On her professional Facebook page and on Twitter, she has been sharing plenty of RT content and clips of her guest-hosting news segments on RT America’s Evening News in recent weeks.
With her new work at RT, Hughes enters a somewhat unexpected next chapter in her long career, and embarks on a possible return to Washington—though not to serve in the administration for which she had once desired to work. According to a source familiar with the matter, Hughes had around the dawn of the Trump era gunned for a White House job in media booking, outreach, and coordination for Trump-aligned media surrogates.
“She’s great—good for Scottie Nell,” Jeffrey Lord, another former pro-Trump CNN commentator, told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “She can bring an American view of things [to RT]. I’m aware this is Putin-land…but if there’s anything who could stick up for America, it’s Scottie Nell.”