Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who controls some of the most powerful organs in conservative media, appeared to make clear Wednesday that he would prefer to cast aside former President Donald Trump in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the leader of the Republican party.
The New York Post, a tabloid Murdoch controls, hailed DeSantis’ election night victory on its front page Wednesday morning.
“DeFUTURE,” the headlined on the Post blared, alongside a photo of DeSantis and his family celebrating their major win in the Sunshine State.
On Fox News, the dominant television voice Murdoch controls, significant attention was given on Wednesday to DeSantis’ victory.
“I think Governor DeSantis is the single biggest winner of the night,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on “Fox & Friends,” adding that he will “almost certainly become the rallying point for everybody in the Republican Party who wants to move beyond President Trump.”
The homepage of Fox News also prominently featured a column by conservative commentator Liz Peek that declared DeSantis “the new leader of the Republican Party.” Fox News dubbed it “A NEW ERA.”
And The Wall Street Journal, the broadsheet owned by Murdoch, the newspaper’s conservative editorial board published a piece proclaiming the “DeSantis Florida tsunami.”
“There’s little doubt that his Florida success will grab the attention of voters outside the Sunshine State,” the editorial board wrote. “You can bet Donald J. Trump was watching—unhappily.”
Coverage from Murdoch’s media outlets is notable, given that they have significant sway over the Republican Party base and its power brokers.
“It is not an accident,” a person familiar with how Murdoch runs the companies told CNN Wednesday morning when asked about the fact that the billionaire’s media outlets were focusing attention on DeSantis as the future of the Republican Party.
The coverage from Murdoch’s media outlets does not mean that they will completely turn on Trump. Rather, it suggests that Murdoch might use his influence to tilt the scales and push Republicans toward DeSantis if the two squared off in a 2024 Republican primary.
A spokesperson for Murdoch did not immediately return a request for comment. But Murdoch has in the past made his frustrations clear with Trump clear.
Maggie Haberman, a reporter at The New York Times and CNN political analyst, reported recently in her bestselling book that after the 2020 election Murdoch remarked of Trump, “We should throw this guy over.”