Fox News, which has been accused by critics of having a cozy relationship with the Trump White House, has hired longtime Democratic strategist Donna Brazile as an on-air contributor.
Brazile will appear across all Fox News programs in daytime and prime time, the network announced Monday. She has appeared on the conservative-leaning network in the past as a guest.
The strategist, who served as interim head of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and campaign manager for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, immediately becomes the highest-profile Democratic talking head on Fox News.
Brazile’s arrival comes a week after Fox News made a case to advertisers that its audience, which is the largest among all cable networks, goes beyond Republican voters and Trump supporters.
The high profile of Fox News conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity — who advises Trump — tends to overshadow the network’s journalism.
Conservative prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham are having trouble retaining sponsors because of their provocative statements.
Fox News recently suspended Saturday host Jeanine Pirro following remarks she made on her program regarding the hijab worn by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Muslim congresswoman under fire for comments she made about U.S. support of Israel. Several sponsors said they have suspended their advertising on Pirro’s program “Justice With Judge Jeanine.”
Fox News’ close ties with the Trump administration also have brought tough scrutiny, including a recent piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker that quoted Republican critics and others describing the network as a propaganda tool of the White House.
According to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment, Brazile’s hiring has been in the works for some time. Brazile said in a statement that she is taking on the role at a network that has been demonized by the Democratic Party because she wants to promote more civil discourse in the politically polarized landscape.
“I know I'm going to get criticized from my friends in the progressive movement for being on Fox News,” Brazile said. “My response is that, if we've learned anything from the 2016 election, it is that we can't have a country where we don't talk to those who disagree with our political views. There's an audience on Fox News that doesn't hear enough from Democrats. We have to engage that audience and show Americans of every stripe what we stand for rather than retreat into our 'safe spaces' where we simply agree with each other.”
Brazile, 59, has previously been a commentator for CNN. She resigned in October 2016 following a WikiLeaks dump of hacked DNC emails that revealed she shared information with Hillary Clinton’s campaign about questions CNN used in a Democratic candidates’ town hall meeting on the network. The program aired in March 2016 when Clinton was still battling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for the nomination.
Brazile’s action — which she said she regretted — has been cited by Fox News commentators as an example of corruption within the Clinton campaign during the 2016 race.