Rupert Murdoch has reportedly warned Donald Trump his media empire will not back any attempt to return to the White House, as former supporters turn to the youthful Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
After the Republican party’s disappointing performance in the US midterm elections, in particular the poor showing by candidates backed by Trump, Murdoch’s rightwing media empire appears to be seeking a clean break from the former president’s damaged reputation and perceived waning political power.
Last week, Murdoch’s influential media empire, including right-leaning Fox News, his flagship paper the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, each rounded on Trump, calling him a loser and a flop responsible for dragging the Republicans into “one political fiasco after another”.
“We have been clear with Donald. There have been conversations between them during which Rupert made it clear to Donald that we cannot back another run for the White House,” a senior News Corp source told the i newspaper.
Trump, who announced his intention to run for president again in 2024 in a much-hyped TV appearance on Tuesday night in the US, has accused Murdoch of going “all in” to support DeSantis, 44, whom he has called an “average Republican governor” and has nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious”.
Lachlan Murdoch, the heir apparent and eldest son, who co-chairs News Corp and runs the parent company of Fox News, has reportedly told DeSantis that the group would back him if he ran in the next election. “Lachlan has been keen on Ron for some time,” said the i’s source. “He’s viewed within the organisation as a sanitised version of Donald.”
DeSantis, who has been called “DeFuture” by the New York Post and “the new Republican party leader” in a Fox News column, has not declared whether he intends to compete to be the party’s 2024 presidential candidate.
Joe Biden, who has been buoyed up by the Democrats strong performance in the midterms but continues to prove unpopular in polls, has also not declared if he will run for president again. While he has no obvious successor, there are concerns about his age if he were to win another term at the White House, as he will be 82 in 2024.
News Corp and Fox News declined to comment.