Conservative Rupert Murdoch's media criticises ex-US president Donald Trump for making Republicans underperform in the midterm elections.
The powerful media empire of conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch appeared to turn its back on Donald Trump, labelling the former president a "loser" who shows "increasingly poor judgement" after the midterm elections.
Just days before he is expected to announce his 2024 White House candidacy, the Wall Street Journal, the flagship of Murdoch's News Corp, declared in an editorial that "Trump Is the Republican Party's Biggest Loser," pointing to the party's disappointing performance in Tuesday's midterm elections.
"He has now flopped in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022," it said.
The cover of NewsCorp's tabloid New York Post depicted Trump on a precarious wall as "Trumpty Dumpty" who "had a great fall" in the vote, blaming him for the failure of Republicans to sweep past Democratic rivals in the vote.
And at the hugely influential Fox News television network, praise was thick for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, seen as Trump's top rival for the party's 2024 presidential election.
"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.
"The biggest loser? Donald Trump," she said.
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Trump a 'mixed blessing'
After supporting him through his 2017-2021 presidency, Fox, a Murdoch arm separate from News Corp, did not completely abandon Trump, still the most powerful figure in the Republican Party.
But even the network's biggest star, talk-show host Tucker Carlson, assailed the Republican establishment for Tuesday's ballot box failures and at least partly blamed the ex-president.
"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," he said late Wednesday.
"The truth is, Trump has always been a mixed blessing politically."
The Murdoch outlets are some of the most influential sources of information for US conservatives, unabashedly backing Republicans and attacking Democrats.
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So blaming Trump for election disappointments while lavishing praise on DeSantis could shape public views ahead of the 2024 presidential race.
Trump is expected to announce his candidacy next week, whereas DeSantis, who first had to win reelection to the Florida governorship, has only hinted that he might battle for the White House.
In fact, Republicans scored significant gains in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and are expected to wrest control of the body from Democrats when the outstanding races are settled.
But the party had expected to more powerfully trounce Democrats and easily seize both the House and the Senate — still undecided — as well as some key governorships.
Instead, a number of candidates closely aligned with and endorsed by Trump failed to lock in victories.
Following NewsCorp's direct criticism, Donald Trump released a statement criticising Murdoch's media.
"And now, Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games! The Fake News asks him if he's going to run if President Trump runs, and he says, "I'm only focused on the Governor's race, I'm not looking into the future." Well, in terms of loyalty and class, that's really not the right answer," Trump said.
"This is just like 2015 and 2016, a Media Assault (Collusion!), when Fox News fought me to the end until I won, and then they couldn't have been nicer or more supportive. The Wall Street Journal loved Low Energy Jeb Bush, and a succession of other people as they rapidly disappeared from sight, finally falling in line with me after I easily knocked them out, one by one. We're in exactly the same position now. They will keep coming after us, MAGA, but ultimately, we will win. Put America First and, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
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