During an interview with Ben Smith of Buzzfeed News several years ago, CNN President Jeff Zucker entertained the idea of entering politics in the future, albeit without a specific position in mind. But now, over seven years into his tenure as an executive at the news agency, Zucker teased in another interview with Smith that he’s open to running for mayor of New York City.
As The New York Times reports, Smith asked Zucker whether he would consider running for mayor in 2021, when term-limited Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio will be through with his final full year in office.
“New York City is going to need a very strong mayor in the aftermath of this, and I always like a challenge,” Zucker responded, after reportedly offering a brief pause and suggesting that he wanted to avoid dominating headlines with his answer.
Before joining CNN, Zucker was president of NBCUniversal, where he helped raise businessman Donald Trump’s star even higher into the public eye through the reality TV show “The Apprentice,” as The Daily Wire previously reported. Media critic Stephen Miller told The Wrap in 2018 that Zucker was a large factor in helping Trump gain widespread public prominence before his 2015 presidential campaign.
“There is no figure in media more responsible for Donald Trump’s legitimacy in media, which led to his rise in politics and to the presidency, than Jeff Zucker,” said Miller.
In 2012, when CNN started looking at Zucker as a potential successor for the top position at the news agency, Trump tweeted that Zucker would be a “great choice” to “lead them out of the forest.”
.@CNN is looking at Jeff Zucker to lead them out of the forest–Jeff would be a great choice.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2012
Zucker currently has a contract with CNN to stay at the company until the end of 2020, The Hollywood Reporter purportedly confirmed with “a source with knowledge of the situation” two years ago. Several months prior to signing the contract, the news agency reported that Zucker was vying for the top job at ESPN.
In 2018, Zucker told former Obama administration official David Axelrod that he was unsure of where he would be in five years but still harbored an interest in entering politics “somewhere in my gut,” reported The Washington Free Beacon.
“You turned down an opportunity to work for Al Gore in 2000,” Axelrod told Zucker during a podcast interview. “You’ve talked in the past about potentially running for office.”
“So, I’m still interested in that, and it’s something I would consider,” Zucker replied.
In addition to Zucker teasing a mayoral run, CNN Contributor and tech magnate Andrew Yang, who entered political prominence over a year ago after launching his “longer-than long-shot” presidential bid, has also said he may run for the position, according to Business Insider.
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