Jason Miller, President Donald Trump’s former top aide, will be joining CNN as a paid contributor, network president Jeff Zucker announced Wednesday on an internal call, a source told Business Insider.
CNN host Brian Stelter wrote on Twitter that CNN public relations had confirmed the news.
Miller served as a senior communications director both for the Trump campaign and for the president’s transition team. In December, he accepted the role of White House communications director, but turned the position down two days later, after allegations surfaced that Miller had an affair with another Trump transition official. Miller, whose wife gave birth to their second child in January, said he turned down the position in order to spend more time with his family.
Since then, Miller has continued to act as the president’s surrogate, making consistent media appearances. In January, he became a managing director of DC consulting firm Teneo Strategy, which was founded by a longtime Bill Clinton aide.
This is not the first time CNN has hired a Trump surrogate as a contributor.
Controversially, the network hired Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, as a political commentator following his dismissal from the campaign. Lewandowski, who was let go after allegations that he manhandled an ex-Breitbart reporter at a rally, continued to receive payment from the campaign, with which he signed a non-disparagement agreement, while he worked for CNN.
CNN President Jeff Zucker defended the network’s decision to hire Lewandowski and other Trump surrogates, arguing they add crucial voices to the table.
Lewandowski left CNN immediately following the election and has since launched a political consulting firm on Capitol Hill and joined the conservative One America News Network as a commentator.
Trump has repeatedly attacked CNN, along with other mainstream media, for its coverage of his campaign and presidency, calling it “fake news” and “the enemy of the American People.”
Zucker, who worked with Trump during his time at NBC, has accused the president of attempting to “delegitimize the media” in order to play to his political base and protect himself against critical reporting.
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