Rupert Murdoch often wishes that Donald Trump was dead during “frothing at the mouth” rants about the former US president, according to a new book.
The media tycoon’s Fox News backed Mr Trump as he won the White House in 2016 but Mr Murdoch, 92, is vehemently opposed to the possibility of a second Trump presidency.
Mr Murdoch has become a “frothing at the mouth” critic of the 77-year-old, who is the overwhelming favourite to face Joe Biden, 80, in the 2024 presidential election.
Mr Trump’s death has become a recurrent subject in the Australian billionaire’s rants, according to new book The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty by Michael Wolff.
The book also claims Mr Murdoch believes one of his top rated presenters is a “moron” and suggests that Ron DeSantis may have kicked another anchor’s dog.
A spokesperson for Fox News told The Telegraph: “The fact that this author’s books are spoofed by “Saturday Night Live” is all we really need to know.”
Mr Trump has made unsubstantiated claims there was voter fraud and that the election was stolen. It led his supporters to storm the US Capitol in a deadly riot on Jan 6, 2021.
“Of all Trump’s implacable enemies, Murdoch had become a frothing-at-the-mouth one,” Wolff said in the book, which will be published in the US next Tuesday.
“Trump’s death became a Murdoch theme: ‘We would all be better off …? This would all be solved if … ‘How could he still be alive, how could he?’ ‘Have you seen him? Have you seen what he looks like? What he eats?’
Wolff writes that, after Mr Trump left office, Mr Murdoch had “convinced himself” that the former president’s hold on his Republican base had weakened.
Instead, and despite facing 91 criminal charges, Mr Trump, who insists he is in excellent health, has a huge lead in polling for the Republican primary.
The book also claims Tucker Carlson, Fox’s former star anchor, considered running for president to escape his contract with the cable network. Carlson has not yet responded to requests for comment.
Carlson was fired by Fox News after the network settled a defamation lawsuit over its election coverage for $787 million (£631 million).
Wolff claims Mr Murdoch also mooted the possibility of firing Sean Hannity, who headlines a primetime Fox News show, during the negotiations.
The author claims Hannity was considered a “moron” within Mr Murdoch’s circles, despite being one of Fox News’ biggest ratings drivers.
Before his firing, Carlson was America’s most popular TV anchor and remains a hugely influential figure in Republican politics.
He continues to broadcast on social media, including an interview with Mr Trump, since departing Fox News.
Republican presidential candidates have courted Carlson in the hope of an endorsement. They include Ron DeSantis, the 44-year-old Florida governor.
But according to Wolff, Mr DeSantis failed to impress during a lunch he attended with his wife Casey at the anchor’s Florida home.
DeSantis ‘had altercation with Carlson’s dog’
The Daily Beast, which has obtained an advance copy of the book, reports that Mr DeSantis failed to “read the room” during the two-hour meeting or “observe any basics of conversation”.
Instead he “reeled off” his political accomplishments and had an altercation with one of Carlson and his wife Susan’s four pet spaniels.
The website quotes Wolff stating: “DeSantis pushed the dog under the table.
“Had he kicked the dog? Susie Carlson’s judgment was clear: she did not ever want to be anywhere near anybody like that ever again.’
“Her husband agreed. DeSantis, in Carlson’s view, was a ‘fascist’.”
Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for Mr DeSantis, said Wolff’s account was “absurd and false”.
He added: “Some will say or write anything to attack Ron DeSantis because they know he presents a threat to their worldview.”
Mr DeSantis was considered Mr Murdoch’s favoured Republican candidate for a time, but the media mogul is said to have soured on the governor following a lacklustre campaign and falling popularity.
Reports suggest he has since encouraged Glenn Youngkin, the Virginia governor, to join the crowded field challenging Mr Trump.