Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of the Web and cable-TV outlet Newsmax, says there’s a good reason why he pledged a seven-figure donation to the Clinton Foundation. “I really like what he does,” says Ruddy, referring to Clinton Foundation name partner and former president Bill Clinton.

Ruddy and Clinton have come a long way, as explained in this New York Times piece by Jeremy W. Peters. Back in the 1990s, Ruddy was a well-known Clinton antagonist, as he explored the death of White House aide Vince Foster in the New York Post and later at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

A coming-together came years after Clinton left office. Ruddy tells the Erik Wemple Blog that Clinton is right up there with Theodore Roosevelt when it comes to distinguished post-presidencies. “I did notice that he was going around the world defending America, speaking up for America,” says Ruddy, noting, “He’s not Jimmy Carter. … He became essentially a goodwill ambassador for America.”

AD
AD

And the MO of the Clinton Foundation also appealed to Ruddy, a Reagan devotee. “They’re not looking for government handouts. They’re not looking for more foreign aid,” he says, citing the foundation’s work on alleviating poverty and fighting HIV/AIDS overseas. When he first started giving to the foundation, Ruddy says he was asked whether he wanted to keep the donations private; he responded that it would be fine to make them public.

After news emerged of Ruddy’s latest gift to the foundation — $1 million over five years — Ruddy was amused at some of the coverage. A piece on FoxNews.com, for instance, was titled, “The strange philanthropy of Chris Ruddy: Conservative newsman pledges $1M to Clintons.” Huh, thought Ruddy, doesn’t Murdoch Inc. — owner of Fox News — also have some “strange” involvement with the Clintons, too? Right there on the list of high-rolling donors to the Clinton Foundation with Newsmax is none other than James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox. “Incredibly ironic,” notes Ruddy.

In a phone call with the ex-president last week, Ruddy says he explained, “I’m proud of what you’re doing, and I don’t care what they say on Fox News.” Ruddy told the Wall Street Journal that the donation wasn’t an endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential campaign.

AD
AD