Erick Erickson: Ailes took me off Fox News because of McConnell criticism

Erick Erickson: Ailes took me off Fox News because of McConnell criticism
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Former Fox News contributor Erick Erickson alleged in an op-ed published Monday that the network took him off the air four years ago after current Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoOn The Money: Democrats move funding bills as budget caps deal remains elusive | Companies line up to weigh in on 0B China tariffs | Trudeau to talk trade with Pelosi, McConnell On The Money: Democrats move funding bills as budget caps deal remains elusive | Companies line up to weigh in on 0B China tariffs | Trudeau to talk trade with Pelosi, McConnell Progressive group requests Transportation Department look into Chao's potential conflicts of interest MORE complained to senior management about Erickson's criticism of her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.).

The alleged complaints were lodged to then-Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes while Chao was on the News Corp. board of directors.

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"According to Roger, Elaine was 'riding [his] ass' about me being on Fox," Erickson wrote in a column for the blog he runs, The Resurgent. "I was supporting Matt Bevin in the 2014 Republican primary in Kentucky against McConnell."

"And it didn't matter why I was on television and on what topics I was or was not talking, Chao had told Roger I was an unwelcome presence on Fox and not a team player. Roger had not only told me, but conveyed to my boss at RedState that I was becoming a problem for him with Elaine," he adds.

Later in the piece, the conservative commentator said he continued his criticism of McConnell despite the warning, but also says he earned Ailes's respect for sticking to his principles.

"Roger felt the need to apologize, but told me that as long as I was writing about McConnell at RedState that I would find my appearances on Fox limited," Erickson writes. "I kept writing about McConnell. To his credit, Roger later called me and said he appreciated that I was willing to give up air time to keep doing what I believed in. He said most people would have shut up to be on TV."

McConnell has served as Senate Majority Leader since 2015, while Chao was confirmed as President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE's Transportation Secretary in January 2017.

Ailes died in May 2017, almost a year after being ousted from the network after an internal investigation following sexual harassment allegations by several network employees including former hosts Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.

Bill Shine, who took over for Ailes, resigned from Fox in May 2017 after reports emerged that Shine knew of the allegations against Ailes well before they became public.

Erickson has been critical of Fox News several times in the past, including last December when he announced his departure from the network, calling himself "not needed nor useful to the network."

“After five years at Fox News, I am leaving the network,” he said, according to Politico's Jake Sherman. “I am neither needed nor useful to the network and they know it too. I neither fit solidly as a Republican Trump supporter nor as an anti-Trump Democrat.”