Even as the Republicans won 210 seats and appear set to retake the House of Representatives against the Democrats reduced count, Donald Trump’s close ally and right-wing billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who controls several media outlets, including Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, is asking the GOP to move on from him following the disappointing performance of the ex-President’s handpicked candidates.
The Senate is, however, up for grabs with both the Republicans and Democrats appear splitting the seats at 48 each and need three more to control the upper chamber as some states are witnessing the closest races ever heading for a tossup.
Trump used to refer to the New York Post as his favorite newspaper as Murdoch always supported him, but in a dramatic turn of events, the Post’s two successive headlines in the last two days have turned against Trump.
The Post featured Governor Ron DeSantis’ spectacular victory in Florida on the cover page with the headline “De Future”, implying he was the future of the Republican Party for the 2024 presidential run.
The second negative headline in the Post shows Trump sitting on a brick wall and tripping over reminding one of the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty and the headline is appropriately titled “Trumpity Dumpity”, showing that Trump was falling from grace within the GOP as most of his candidates lost the races to democrats with the worst defeats coming from Pennsylvania for Dr Mehmet Oz and the two key Governor and Attorney General seats going the Democrats’ way in Michigan.
Murdoch’s outlets, including Fox News, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, have literally turned against Trump with a barrage of negative headlines while boosting Florida Governor DeSantis as the future of the party, media reports say.
The widely-read financial daily, Wall Street Journal’s editorial board went a step further calling Trump as “the Republican Party’s biggest loser”, knocking him for flopping in elections in 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
It asked what the Democrats would do if Trump wasn’t around to concede elections to them. “We have to wonder because on Tuesday Democrats succeeded again in making the former President a central campaign issue, and Mr. Trump helped them do it,” the editorial said.
The New York Post columnist John Podhoretz, in an edit, said Toxic Trump is the political equivalent of a can of Raid. “After three straight national tallies in which either he or his party or both were hammered by the national electorate, it’s time for even his stans to accept the truth”.
In a brutal comment, Podhoretz dubbed Trump as perhaps the most profound vote-repellant in modern American history. The surest way to lose in these midterms was to be a politician endorsed by Trump.
Murdoch’s TV channel, which always touted for Trump, also turned against him with its political pundits increasingly blasting Trump and leaning to DeSantis as the future of the GOP as he had managed to pull of a spectacular victory for the GOP in his state retaining his governorship by a huge margin and also making fellow Republican Marco Rubio defeat his Democrat rival.
Another conservative poll observer, March Thiessen, told Fox News TV that Trump will cost the Republicans the senate twice in a row if Republicans fail to take the upper house.
“In 2020, voters didn’t reject Trumpism. They rejected Trump,” he said, emphasising that the Republicans had wrongly given into Trump to pick his candidates, all of whom were not election winners because they were all election deniers and subscribed to Trump’s fantasy of a stolen election in 2020 which wasn’t.
The TV channel blamed the RNC for nominating unelectable 2020 deniers and “squandering a historic opportunity”.
Of significance is the comment by the former Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany who had repeatedly asked Trump to delay his “big announcement” of his third run for the presidency in 2024 after the humiliating losses of his candidates. She thought any announcement by Trump would spoil the Republicans’ hopes of winning the Senate if a runoff in Georgia ensued as the race there was very close and tight. She wanted DeSantis to campaign for Republican nominee Herschel Walker, the football star mired in controversy over paying for his girl friends to abort while publicly campaigning against abortion.
That message has been echoed across Fox stations since the midterms, says the Washington Post. “Trump is the past,” Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney observed in his show.
Fox News digital headlines followed a similar pattern calling Trump the “the biggest loser” and elevated DeSantis as the new Republican Party leader.
Jason Chaffetz, a longtime Trump ally and a Fox News contributor, declared DeSantis as “probably one of the front-runners – if not the front-runner – to become the next President of the United States of America” and took strong exception to Trump calling the Florida governor “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a pre-midterm rally.
The New York Times’ popular columnist and one-time New York Post staffer, who had interviewed Trump several times, Maggie Haberman said the Fox News Network of Murdoch was following a “coordinated effort across Fox News, WSJ and the NY Post” to attack the former President for his interference in sending the wrong candidates in the primaries over more eligible candidates.
“Murdoch holdings are going all in for DeSantis,” she said in a tweet.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said on Thursday that the Fox network had turned against Trump. Listing the barrage of headlines attacking Trump from the right, he said: “They want this guy gone.”