Christopher Ruddy, the founder and CEO of Newsmax Media Corp., clarified that the conservative news channel will not become a "Trump TV" but would be open to having President Donald Trump for a weekly show once he leaves the White House. His comments came after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump allies considered buying Newsmax TV to build a strong competitor against Fox News — which has found itself at the center of criticism especially after it declared Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election.
In an interview with Variety, Ruddy said that his media house would remain an independent news agency. He also confirmed that he was in contact with Thomas Hicks — the leader of private equity firm Hicks Equity Partners — which the Journal reported as a potential buyer of Newsmax, but did not make any deal with him.
"We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission. But we are open — [Trump] is going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House, and we would be open to talking to him about a weekly show," Ruddy told Variety, adding that "we are not actively selling."
Ruddy said that while investors and "strategic players" approached him with interest, the main aim of the media house is to continue and overtake rival Fox News in the "next 12 months." "I think it's do-able," he said.
Trump's Failing Relationship With Fox News
The initial years of Trump's presidency were marked with unfailing praise for Fox News. Trump regularly tweeted about the news channel's morning show "Fox & Friends" and quoted it for statistics and his approval ratings.
While the President continues to receive support from the Fox News' prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, he has become increasingly critical of the news channel for the past year. Last August, the President drew a connection between the network's ratings and its loyalty to him.
"I don't want to Win for myself, I only want to Win for the people. The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn't working for us anymore," Trump tweeted at the time.
The President's tweet prompted a reaction from Fox News anchor Brit Hume saying: "Fox News isn't supposed to work for you." Hume has been vocal about his support for Trump throughout his presidency.
The relationship between the network and Trump was further strained during the months into the Nov. 3 presidential election. He criticized Chris Wallace — the moderator for the first presidential debate — by claiming that the Fox News anchor was tougher on him than his Democrat rival Joe Biden.
However, it was not until the Election Day that Trump went into an attacking mode on Fox News after it called in key state Arizona for Biden and projected him as the next president of the U.S. One America News, a far-right and pro-Trump news cable, and Newsmax have still not called the election for Biden. Meanwhile, the President encouraged his supporters to follow these two news outlets over Fox News.