The strong media empire of conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch appeared to abandon Donald Trump on Thursday, dubbing him a “failure” with “increasingly terrible judgment” following the midterm elections.
The Wall Street Journal, the flagship publication of Murdoch’s News Corp, said in an editorial that “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser,” referring to the party’s lacklustre showing in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Later Friday, Trump fired back at Murdoch, appearing to relish a brawl, accusing News Corp media of falling in line to support a potential Republican competitor for Trump’s presidential run in 2024, a decision he predicted News Corp would regret.
The cover of News Corp’s tabloid New York Post depicts Trump as “Trumpty Dumpty” who “had a big fall” in the election, blaming him for Republicans’ inability to sweep past Democratic competitors in the struggle for control of Congress and governorships.
And the highly important Fox News television network heaped praise on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, widely seen as Trump’s main contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
“The biggest winner of the midterm elections was without a doubt Governor Ron DeSantis, whose landslide victory in the state of Florida was breathtaking,” wrote Fox columnist Liz Peek who added, “The biggest loser? Donald Trump”.
Fox, a Murdoch subsidiary separate from News Corp, did not ditch Trump, who remains the most dominant person in the Republican Party, after supporting him from 2017 to 2021.
Even the network’s greatest star, talk-show host Tucker Carlson, blasted the Republican establishment for the failures at the polls on Tuesday and blamed the ex-president in part.
“Many others are saying that Donald Trump is the reason Republicans didn’t do as well as they thought they would. That’s a more complicated question. The truth is, Trump has always been a mixed blessing politically,” he said late Wednesday.
Murdoch’s media channels are among the most powerful sources of information for US conservatives, openly supporting Republicans and opposing Democrats. So blaming Trump for electoral losses while praising DeSantis could impact negatively in the run-up to the 2024 election.
Donald Trump is likely to declare his candidacy next week, while DeSantis, who must first win reelection to the Florida governorship, has merely suggested that he may run for President.
In reality, Republicans made big gains in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and are anticipated to seize control of the house from Democrats once the remaining races are resolved.