Trump Reacts to Murdoch's Stepping Down as Fox, News Corp. Head

Trump acknowledged the retirement of Rupert Murdoch, who announced that he is handing the media empire to his son.
Trump Reacts to Murdoch's Stepping Down as Fox, News Corp. Head
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 6, 2022. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Bill Pan

Former President Donald Trump on Friday acknowledged the retirement of Rupert Murdoch, who announced this week that he is stepping down from the multi-billion-dollar media empire.

The Republican presidential primary frontrunner took the opportunity to call for new leadership to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose health status came under renewed doubts after he experienced another "freeze-up" incident earlier this month.

"Many people are saying that, 'You forced Rupert Murdoch into retirement!'" President Trump wrote on Truth Social. "I do not believe this is so, but while we're at it, how about getting rid of 'Democrat' Mitch McConnell, who gives the Radical Left Lunatics, together with his small band of automatic 'yes' votes, EVERYTHING they want."

The comments come a day after Mr. Murdoch said that he would step down as head of Fox Corporation, the company that owns Fox News and the Fox broadcast channel; as well as News Corp, the company that owns publishers including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, effective in November.

In a letter to employees, the 92-year-old Australian-born billionaire said that both he and his companies are in "robust health." He didn't use the word "retirement" throughout the letter but instead described the change of leadership roles as a "transition," with a promise to stay "involved every day" as an "active member" of the companies he built.

His son Lachlan will take over as News Corp. chairman and continue as chief executive officer of Fox Corp.

"I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career," Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. "We are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel."

President Trump has routinely criticized Mr. Murdoch in recent months, especially after it was revealed that the media tycoon said in a testimony (pdf) he gave as part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit that some of his Fox News hosts should have been "stronger in denouncing" the claim that the 2020 election had been "stolen" due to widespread voter fraud.

"I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight," Mr. Murdoch stated.

In another part of the testimony, Mr. Murdoch said it was "wrong" for MyPillow founder and prominent Trump supporter Mike Lindell to appear on Tucker Carlson's primetime show in January 2021 to repeat the election fraud claim if "Carlson didn't contest it."

Mr. Carlson was eventually let go in April. He has since opened his own talk show on Twitter, now rebranded as X, where he reached more viewers than any other show in the history of cable news.

"Why is Rupert Murdoch throwing his anchors under the table, which also happens to be killing his case and infuriating his viewers, who will again be leaving in droves—they already are," President Trump wrote in February on Truth Social. "There is MASSIVE evidence of voter fraud & irregularities in the 2020 Presidential Election."

In August, President Trump renewed his accusation that Mr. Murdoch was part of the "globalist" scheme to undermine his MAGA agenda.

"Rupert Murdoch is a globalist," he said in one of the two dozen clips video clips he shared on Truth Social. "You don't know that. And I am America first, it's very simple. I put America first. It will always be that way so get used to it."

President Trump also criticized the Wall Street Journal for allegedly having bias in favor of Republican nomination contender, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming the newspaper "has totally lost its way."

"They pushed DeSanctimonious so hard, and now they're looking for someone else because he's failed," he said, calling the Florida governor a "Murdoch pick" who has "fallen like a very badly injured bird out of the sky."

With the Republican primary being more than four months away, President Trump continues to hold a commanding lead in the field. Citing the dominating performance in polls, he skipped the first primary debate hosted by Fox News on Aug. 23, and instead sat with Mr. Carlson for an interview broadcasted on X.

A second debate will take place on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and will be co-moderated by anchors of Fox News and Univision. Instead of participating in the event, President Trump is expected to deliver a speech to Detriot's autoworker union members, who went on strike after failing to reach a deal with auto companies that are shifting toward manufacturing electric vehicles.