Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent will begin to appear on CNN on Monday not just as a talking head, but as a member of the network staff.
Dent, a 57-year-old Allentown native who officially resigned from Congress a little more than a week ago, has been hired by CNN as a political commentator. He will make his first appearance in his new role on Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. Monday, based out of Pennsylvania.
Dent, the former co-chairman of the moderate Republican Tuesday Group, who had represented Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional District since 2005, has been a highly sought-after pundit over the last year for his willingness to criticize President Trump and his administration from the right. Dent previously told my colleague Jonathan Tamari he was pursuing multiple job opportunities in the private sector, and didn't rule out lobbying.
"Nothing is final yet, I'm still working on it. But it just seemed like the right time for personal reasons, and I hope to be able to deal with my future when I'm out of Congress," Dent said in April.
Dent's hiring seems to buck a recent trend at CNN of hiring conservative contributors who defend Trump. CNN chief executive Jeffrey Zucker boasted to the New York Times last year that his group of about 12 pro-Trump panelists were "characters in a drama" intended on hitting a viral nerve that could be debated and shared throughout the day.
Earlier this month, Dent was among the few Republicans calling for congressional hearings in light of conflicting statements about a $130,000 payout to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence allegations of an affair with Trump.
"If a Democratic president had paid off a porn star to keep quiet while he was president, I suspect we'd have oversight hearings, and I suspect there probably should be some oversight hearings to get to the bottom of that," Dent said on CNN Newsroom. "If a Democratic president had done this, we'd be waving a bloody shirt right now."
CNN has turned to Pennsylvania in recent years to find political analysts. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, also a Republican from Pennsylvania, is a commentator on the network. He most recently gained attention for his commentary when he suggested teenagers who marched in Philadelphia, Washington, and other cities in support of stricter gun-control laws should learn CPR instead.
Another Pennsylvania native, political strategist and former Reagan White House staffer Jeffrey Lord, was fired last August after using a Nazi reference in a tweet directed at the president of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters.