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Rove responds to reports he's advising Trump campaign

Former White House strategist Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries Biden's 2022 problem: Even some liberals are starting to say 'Enough!' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby - Biden floats infrastructure, tax concessions to GOP MORE pushed back Friday at reports that said he is advising the Trump campaign, but said he does give “unvarnished advice” to Trump's campaign when it contacts him.

Rove said he is friends with Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBrad ParscaleAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report MORE, and that Parscale calls him from time to time.

“Well, first of all, don’t believe everything you read in the press," Rove said in an interview with Fox News Radio's "The Guy Benson Show" on Friday.

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Rove said he likes Parscale and "I consider him a friend. I’ve become quite a fan."

"I think he’s got a sharp mind and great instincts, and he’s actually called and asked — having been through this drill trying to reelect a president myself, he’s kind enough to call and occasionally say ‘what do you think about this’ or ‘should I be worried about that,'" said Rove, who was considered the master strategist for former President George W. Bush's campaigns.

"The idea that I’m somehow deeply engrained in the Trump campaign … I’ve got a busy life with Fox and Wall Street Journal and speeches,” added Rove, a political contributor to Fox News and a columnist for the Journal.

When Benson asked if it would be fair to say he was "occasionally informally advising the Trump campaign,” Rove responded, “I think that’s even too far."

"Occasionally he’s even kind enough to call me and say ‘what do you think about this,’ so — and I’m happy to give him my unvarnished advice and he can do with it what he will,” he added.

Rove said that he expects the presidential election between Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE to be close.

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"I think there’s going to be a close election and I think the personal conduct of both candidates, particularly in the period after the convention, is going to be critical," Rove said.

Rove, who has been critical of both parties, most recently appeared on Fox News Monday calling President Obama's commencement speeches over the weekend a "political drive-by shooting."

"It is so unseemly for a former president to take the virtual commencement ceremony for a series of historically black colleges and universities and turn it into a political drive-by shooting,” Rove said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”