Murdoch media roasts Trump over lacklustre GOP midterm elections showing

Former US president Donald Trump mingles with supporters during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on 8 November 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Rupert Murdoch’s news properties, in an unusually coordinated attack, turned on former president Donald Trump and blamed him for unexpected losses by Republicans in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

A Wall Street Journal editorial on Thursday dubbed him “the Republican Party’s biggest loser”, an insult that Trump routinely deploys against his enemies. Meanwhile, the New York Post tabloid ran a caricature of the former president as nursery character Humpty Dumpty with a headline that said, “Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great fall – can all the GOP’s men put the party back together again?”

Trump used the 2022 midterm election cycle to endorse candidates nationwide as a way to display his power over the party. While control of Congress remains unsettled after Tuesday’s midterm elections, it’s already clear that the GOP failed to meet expectations. Republicans had expected to recapture the US Senate, US House and add to its governorships in a “red wave” that didn’t form.

The once cosy relationship between the Murdoch media properties and the former president has frayed since he left office in disgrace in January 2021, weeks after a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol in a failed effort to overturn his loss to Joe Biden. But the media properties’ fresh attacks come as Trump is widely expected to announce a third White House bid as soon as November 15 at his Florida estate.

This isn’t the first time Trump has incurred the ire of Murdoch’s publications. As recently as July, following congressional hearings on the January 6 riots, they also published simultaneous critiques.

Opposition from some of the US’s most influential conservative outlets could make a presidential primary more difficult, especially as they provide more exposure and praise for Trump’s chief party rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

On Wednesday morning, the New York Post tabloid – also owned by Murdoch – had a photo of DeSantis splashed across the front page with a play on his name: “DeFuture.” Just four days earlier, Trump made his own play on DeSantis’ name, calling him “DeSanctimonious” as he inched closer to a presidential announcement.

The Wall Street Journal’s Thursday editorial said that Trump could have stayed quiet in the final weeks of the campaign while spending money to help his candidates, but instead he staged rallies that were mostly about himself. He teased a White House bid in 2024 that “played into Democratic hands”, it said.

The newspaper noted the GOP lost control of the House, Senate and White House under Trump and said he “botched the 2022 elections”.

On Thursday, Trump took aim at Fox News, another once-friendly Murdoch property that has become more critical, especially in the days after Tuesday’s election.

“Despite having picked so many winners, I have to put up with the Fake News,” Trump said Thursday on his Truth Social platform. “For me, Fox News was always gone, even in 2015-16 when I began my ‘journey’, but now they’re really gone.”

A spokesperson for News Corp, the parent of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, declined to comment. Fox News and a Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to messages left for comment.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    There’s a great old saying….” What do you expect from a pig but a grunt!” Seems the perfect way, in my opinion, to describe Trump.

  • Sandra McEwen says:

    Fox News may just be right for once.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The US scenario of the Republicans is not unique to the Republican Party where demagogues and political vandals take over a party. This we have seen in the UK with Boris Johnson and in South Africa we have seen it with Zuma. The three countries have completely different political systems, but parties were hijacked and repurposed and all had some form of print and electronic media behind them. The US midterm elections have now weakened Trump and his conspiracy lunatics and the candidates he backed on the basis of discrediting the US electoral system have lost but the Republicans who refused to be part of his agenda have won.
    What then are the lessons for South Africa? We have seen Zuma hanging around the ANC wanting to be a factor in the ANC December Conference by proposing NDZ to be President. Even KZN has rejected his candidate because not does she have support in KZN but in the rest of the country. Also, she can cost the ANC dearly in 2024 and the ANC loss will be a rout. The lesson is that when a person is out of power, the influence diminishes and the continued reliance on that person might come at a cost to those who support him and the party. However, Trump and Zuma will linger longer because of the criminal investigations they both face and the need for support. They remain a threat to democracy and its institutions because some of their supporters will be the legislature and will be running some states or provinces. Their age does not mean they are harmless.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Mr Ngcukana. This is the second of your letters that I have had the pleasure of reading. I jest not when I say they should be required reading. Your insights and trenchant opinions are outstanding…a primer for those who care about liberal democracy everywhere.

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