The Trump family has long had a contentious relationship with the media, from the left-leaning organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post all the way to Fox News, as illustrated by his highly public feud with Megyn Kelly.
But, according to the Financial Times, while the Trump campaign may have been publicly feuding with Kelly and Fox News, in private the ties between the Trump family and Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, may have been more extensive than previously thought. Per the FT, Ivanka Trump, who has no official role in the Trump administration, sat on a 5-person trustee board, throughout the 2016 campaign cycle, overseeing the trust of Murdoch's children, Grace and Chloe Murdoch, who own approximately $300 million worth of stock in News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Further, Ivanka apparently remained on the board through the election cycle before officially stepping down on December 28th.
The president’s daughter was a trustee of Grace and Chloe Murdoch, Mr Murdoch’s children by his ex-wife Wendi Deng, during the campaign. The two girls, aged 15 and 13, hold shares worth close to a combined $300m in the two companies, which are controlled by Mr Murdoch and his family.
A spokesman for Mr Murdoch declined to comment on Ms Trump’s role on a five-person trustee board, which was confirmed by several people briefed on the situation who said she was a trustee for several years. A spokesperson for Ms Trump told the Financial Times that she stepped down from the board on December 28.
Of course, the relationship between Ivanka and the Murdochs is not a new one. As The New Yorker noted last August, it was the Murdochs who allegedly intervened back in 2008 when Ivanka and now husband, Jared Kushner, briefly split.
She has been friends with Mr Murdoch and Ms Deng for several years. The New Yorker reported in August that when Ms Trump and Mr Kushner briefly broke up in 2008 before they were married it was Ms Deng and Mr Murdoch who helped them repair their relationship, inviting them to the family yacht.
Mr Murdoch is said to be in regular contact with the new president and his daughter, according to people briefed on the situation. The close ties between the families have endured since the election, according to multiple people aware of the relationships.
New York magazine recently reported that Mr Trump had asked Mr Murdoch to suggest candidates to run the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the media industry and is likely to scrutinise AT&T’s $85.4bn takeover of Time Warner, a company that Mr Murdoch and his sons tried to buy two years ago.
Meanwhile, back in August we noted that Ivanka was spotted vacationing with Rupert Murdoch's former wife and rumored current girlfriend of Vladimir Putin, Wendi Deng, in Croatia.
Of course, while it's unclear what, if any, impact the close personal ties between the Trump's and Murdochs had on the 2016 election, we're almost certain it won't make any difference to a mainstream media that is eager to sensationalize and exploit any slight hint of impropriety to the fullest extent possible.