Could Trump TV become a reality?
Two days after reports surfaced that Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was looking into the possibility of a Trump branded television network, the GOP presidential nominee directed his Twitter followers on Wednesday to “tune-in to my Facebook Live broadcast” 30 minutes before the final presidential debate
Viewers expecting a repeat of the last week’s pre-debate news conference, in which Trump appeared alongside three women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault, instead found a tamer cable news-style television program featuring interviews with Trump supporters Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
“Donald started a movement,” Brewer said, when asked by two Trump aides about his candidacy as they broadcast from the media “spin-room” at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, a space where reporters convene to file stories and interview campaign surrogates.
Boris Epshteyn, a Trump campaign senior adviser, who served as one of two hosts, told viewers it was the first time in the campaign season that Trump had aired such a segment.
Between interviews, two commercials appeared, one featuring Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump urging supporters to donate to her father’s campaign, and the other railing against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, the Financial Times reported that Kushner, publisher of the New York Observer newspaper, met with Aryeh B. Bourkoff, chief executive officer of LionTree, an investment firm that has advised on media deals. Kushner was seeking advice on launching a Trump media venture.
The candidate and Kushner have not responded publicly to the report, but in recent months, the real estate mogul-turned reality TV star shot down speculation that he was looking to build a new network after the election.
“I want to win the presidency, and I want to make America great again,” Trump told The Washington Post last month. “It’s very simple. I have no interest in a media company. False rumor.”
Two of Trump’s most trusted campaign advisers come from conservative media outlets — Stephen K. Bannon, the head of conservative news website Breitbart News serves as the Trump campaign’s chief executive officer, and ousted Fox News chairman Roger Ailes has helped Trump prepare for the presidential debates.
More than 200,000 viewers tuned in to Trump’s Facebook live stream at the top of its 8:30 p.m. start. By the start of the 9 p.m. debate the number decreased to some 170,000 viewers.