I was deeply saddened by the news that Roger Ailes, the founder and longtime CEO of Fox News had died. Roger was a friend, boss, and mentor to me personally. After I ended my 2008 run for President, Roger saw in me someone who could communicate on TV and created the “Huckabee” show for the Fox News Channel where it was the number 1 show on the network for the weekends for virtually the entire 6 1/2 years for the show until I left it to run for the Presidency again in January 2015. When that effort didn’t pan out, Roger brought me back as a contributor and I believe he would have reinstated the show had he remained President and CEO. As all know, he was terminated in July of 2016 and I will not defend him for the reasons, but I will forever stand by him as one of the most patriotic, competitive, brilliant, and witty people I’ve ever known. His wife Beth is an amazing lady and their son Zach was the pride and joy of his life. Like any father, he worried a lot about his son for his teenage years. There were times, when I would be with him in his office, I felt he wanted to talk to me as a fellow Dad and not a TV host, or former elected official. Roger did really amazing things for people in the building that showed compassion and generosity. His door was open to the highest rated hosts to the people who cleaned the building. Like ALL of us, Roger had his shortcomings and sins, but I only knew him as a man with unmatched intellect, biting wit, and perspective.

I owe him a lot for his believing in me and giving me a television platform to talk about issues I deeply care about. I hope his critics will remain silent as those of us who were his friends are given the opportunity to gratefully speak to his virtues and his values. In my book, “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy,” I said that “Roger Ailes is the smartest guy in the room and it doesn’t matter who is in the room.” I stand by that statement. He was an original. His impact on politics and media will likely never be equalled. Rest in peace, Roger, and to Beth and Zach, just know that you have friends you can count on and call on.