Hmmm: Murdoch papers slam Trump in editorials after January 6 hearing

($16.4 billion)

Tucker warned us about “foreign-born billionaires” trying to thwart the “America First” agenda!

On the one hand, it’s no surprise that two different editorial boards might have something critical to say about Trump following another damning hearing by Liz Cheney’s panel. On the other, standard practice in righty media with respect to the January 6 probe is to either slam the committee or to maintain strategic silence. The New York Post and Wall Street Journal departed from that practice even though they didn’t need to.


Or did they? After all, this isn’t the first time recently that the Post and WSJ seized an opportunity presented by a January 6 hearing to slam Trump. Maybe the big boss, Rupert Murdoch, has given instructions to his employees that it’s time to push their readers in a new direction. And you don’t have to work for Newsmax to guess which direction that is.

I think the simpler explanation is the more likely one, though, namely that this had nothing to do with instructions from Murdoch and everything to do with the Post and Journal editorial boards wanting to move in that new direction as a matter of their own judgments. They understand that the GOP is better off civically and electorally with someone else as nominee and they’re doing what they can to make it happen. From the Post’s editorial last night:

To his eternal shame, as appalled aides implored him to publicly call on his followers to go home, he instead further fanned the flames by tweeting: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

His only focus was to find any means — damn the consequences — to block the peaceful transfer of power.

There is no other explanation, just as there is no defense, for his refusal to stop the violence.

It’s up to the Justice Department to decide if this is a crime. But as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country’s chief executive again.


The Post is Murdoch’s working-class paper. The Journal caters to the business class but its message is the same:

Still, the brute facts remain: Mr. Trump took an oath to defend the Constitution, and he had a duty as Commander in Chief to protect the Capitol from a mob attacking it in his name. He refused. He didn’t call the military to send help. He didn’t call Mr. Pence to check on the safety of his loyal VP. Instead he fed the mob’s anger and let the riot play out.

In the 18 months since, Mr. Trump has shown not an iota of regret. On Thursday he claimed to be vindicated by a bill to clarify the Electoral Count Act. “Mike Pence told me, and everybody else, there was nothing he could do,” Mr. Trump wrote. “If so, how come the Democrats and RINOs are working so hard to make sure there is nothing a VP can do.”

Character is revealed in a crisis, and Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his.

Sounds disqualifying. But fear not: If Trump vanquishes Ron DeSantis in the 2024 primary, which is more likely than not, both the Journal and the Post will decide that he has enough character to warrant supporting over his Democratic opponent.

The rules of candor are different for conservative editorial boards than for Republican politicians, needless to say. For example, Mike Pence was in Arizona yesterday campaigning for Karrin Taylor Robson, the establishment choice for governor against Trump-backed Kari Lake. (Even establishment candidates are required to believe that the 2020 election was “not fair” in order to stand a chance in a GOP primary.) Pence went as far as a 2024 contender realistically can in repudiating Trump’s claims about a “rigged election” — that is, he kept things oblique, named no names, and even specified that it’s the Democrats who are backward-focused. But we all know who he means here:


Never once yesterday did Pence criticize Lake for being an election truther, only for being a johnny-come-lately to conservatism. “Last month, he was hustled out of a room in Ohio when reporters tried to ask him about Jan. 6.,” Politico noted. “He did not take questions at his event here, and an adviser did not respond to a request for comment about the testimony on Thursday night.” Mike Pence, who was nearly murdered because he refused to lend legal credence to the lie that that the election was stolen, would rather talk about anything except his finest moment as a public servant.

I have no idea how he and other 2024 hopefuls are planning to navigate the subject of “stop the steal” in a primary against Trump when Trump insists on repeating that lie at every opportunity. Yesterday Jonathan Chait argued that Trump’s “rigged election” obsession is turning out to be a brilliant strategy for him against other Republicans even if he didn’t intend it to be. The more Trump doubles down on claiming that the election was stolen, the more of a party litmus test it becomes. Which means more electable alternatives like Rob DeSantis will eventually be forced to make a no-win choice: They’ll either disagree that there was fraud at the polls in 2020, likely killing their chances at the nomination, or they’ll agree and be viewed as a Trumpish crank by swing voters in the general election, reducing their overall electability.


Maybe that’s why the Murdoch papers keep making the case that Trump is unfit due to January 6. They’re trying to create political space in the next GOP primary for the rest of the field to stay away from election trutherism.

Here’s the man himself at his rally last night for Lake doing what he does best, pretending that he won in 2020.

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