Former President George H.W. Bush paid tribute to Roger Ailes on Thursday morning, saying the former Fox News chief “wasn’t perfect,” but he was a friend who was indispensable to his successful presidential campaign in 1988.
He wasn't perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him. Not sure I would have been President w/o his great talent, loyal help. RIP.
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) May 18, 2017
Ailes, who was suffered from multiple health problems, reportedly died at the age of 77 from complications related to a head injury suffered in a fall at his Palm Beach, Fla. home last week.
Ailes is best known for founding Fox News in 1996, which surpassed CNN to become the most-watched cable news network in the early 2000s, and became the most-watched cable network last year.
The network’s longtime CEO was forced to step down last summer after multiple allegations of sexual harassment emerged.
Prior to taking the helm at Fox, Ailes was a very successful political campaign consultant, working for the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, among others.
A former producer of the successful daytime program The Mike Douglas Show, one of Ailes’ particular areas of expertise was political messaging for television.
Nixon and Reagan won their re-election bids in historic landslides, both carrying 49 states to their opponents’ one.
Then-Vice President Bush overcame a 17-point deficit just four months before the 1988 presidential election to defeat Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and become the nation’s 41st president.
Bush’s victory marked the first and only time time since the 1940s a candidate of the same party prevailed following a two-term presidency.
Ailes also reportedly helped Donald Trump with debate preparation during last year’s presidential election.
Multiple Fox News personalities paid tribute to Ailes, with some acknowledging as Bush did, his personal failings.
Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt said Thursday morning, “[Ailes] believed in hard work. He ran four political campaigns. Many people out here would say he saved this country by starting the Fox News Channel.”
She added, “Roger gave every single one of us on this couch an opportunity. He put food on our table, and you, know, he went out in such a sad way, but who doesn’t have sin? We all have sins we all have our cross to bear.”
Sean Hannity offered similar sentiments tweeting:
and his politics, and those that forget "all have sinned and fallen short" and "cast the first stone" I doubt that will happen. https://t.co/nwhCIrzFvt
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 18, 2017
Other Fox personalities expressed their gratitude and respect:
— Kimberly Guilfoyle (@kimguilfoyle) May 18, 2017
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) May 18, 2017
Love and prayers to Beth and Zach. R.I.P Roger – you changed television as we know it. https://t.co/1vjhGFQaDc
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) May 18, 2017
In addition to founding Fox News, Ailes also launched CNBC and co-authored the political classic, You Are The Message: Secrets Of Master Communicators.