“After all that has gone on, people are ready for Sleepy Joe,” the Fox Corporation chairman recently told an associate, according to the Daily Beast. When Murdoch was asked for comment on his private renouncement of a second Trump term, he told the Daily Beast, “No comment except I’ve never called Trump an idiot.” His “idiot” denial was a reference to a section in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury that detailed a phone call between the two regarding the administration’s immigration policies, which led Murdoch to call the president “a fucking idiot” after hanging up.
News of Murdoch’s relationship with Trump souring has trickled out this election season, with the two getting into “a humongous blowup” during the summer over Fox News coverage that Trump deemed insufficiently supportive. “Trump yelled that Fox’s coverage is unfair and the polling is fake,” a source told my colleague Gabriel Sherman. “Rupert defended the network’s standards and polling.”
With Election Day quickly approaching, Trump re-upped his attacks on Fox News’ polling operation. “One of the worst polls in 2016 was the @FoxNews Poll. They were so ridiculously wrong,” the president bitterly tweeted last month following polls by the network that showed Trump trailing Biden in three battleground states. “They totally over sample Democrats to a point that a child could see what is going on.” Trump has also continued to lash out at Fox for letting “their stable of Trump haters” come on the air and called for the network to fire its national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin following her confirmation of aspects of the Atlantic report on the president calling U.S. troops “losers” and “suckers.”
In the aftermath of Griffin’s critical coverage, a person close to the White House told Sherman that “Trump definitely thinks Rupert is not in his corner,” a suspicion that was all but confirmed by a source close to Murdoch, who explained that November’s imminent results are all “about business for Rupert.”
On Thursday morning, the president brought his constant negging of his favorite network onto Fox News, as he called into Fox Business host Stuart Varney’s show and condemned one of the network’s top news anchors. “[Biden] was choking. He couldn’t answer those questions. Chris Wallace protected him. I lost a lot of respect for Chris Wallace,” Trump said, referencing how Wallace, the host and moderator of the September 29 debate, repudiated him for repeatedly interrupting Biden. (Trump and his campaign have pushed the narrative that Wallace teamed up with Biden against him.) Varney did stand up for his colleague, telling Trump, “you didn’t make his job any easier. You did interrupt a lot.”
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