The media mogul and Fox Corporation chairman hasn’t just written off the former president as a possible future candidate for the White House, but now reportedly despises Mr Trump to such a degree that he wishes for his demise, according to Mr Wolff’s new tome The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty.
Mr Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury about part of MrTrump’s tumultuous White House tenure, writes that Mr Murdoch, 92, has grown into “a frothing-at-the-mouth” adversary of Mr Trump, 77.
Thoughts shared by Mr Murdoch include “This would all be solved if … ” as well as “How could he still be alive, how could he?” according to Mr Wolf. The book is set to be published on Tuesday and an advance copy was obtained by The Guardian.
In addition to Fire and Fury, Mr Wolff has also written the books Siege and Landslide about Mr Trump. He has also previously written about Mr Murdoch in The Man Who Owns the News.
In his most recent book, Mr Wolf suggests that he could be “the journalist not in his employ who knows [Murdoch] best”.
Mr Wolff writes that his book is based on “conversations specifically for this book, and other conversations that have taken place over many years … scenes and events that I have personally witnessed or that I have recreated with the help of participants in them”.
Following Mr Trump’s descent from the Trump Tower escalator and entrance into US politics in the summer of 2015, he formed a mutually beneficial relationship with Fox News. It hasn’t been without its ups and downs. More recently, Mr Trump has been targeting Fox on Truth Social for supposedly not reporting on polls that show him in a positive light.
Mr Murdoch’s journey to dislike Mr Trump has been reported on for years. A part of that journey was his personal backing of Fox News being the first network to call Arizona for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, a call that outraged Mr Trump and led to personal overtures from Jared Kushner urging Fox News to issue a retraction which never came.
Mr Wolff writes that at the beginning of 2023, what Mr Murdoch “adamantly didn’t want … was Trump”.
“Of all Trump’s implacable enemies, Murdoch had become a frothing-at-the-mouth one. His relatively calm demeanor from the early Trump presidency where, with a sigh, he could dismiss him merely as a ‘f****** idiot’ had now become a churning stew of rage and recrimination,” he adds. “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?’”
Mr Wolff writes that following Mr Trump’s departure from the White House, Mr Murdoch “like much of the Republican establishment … had convinced himself that Trump was, finally, vulnerable. That his hold on the base and on Republican politicians had weakened enough that now was the time to kill him off, finally”.
But Mr Trump remains the overwhelming favourite to be the Republican nominee in 2024, despite 91 criminal charges against him following his four indictments this year.
In a statement to The Independent, a Fox News spokesperson said: “The fact that this author’s books are spoofed by Saturday Night Live is really all we need to know.”
The spokesperson linked to a 2018 SNL sketch in which Fred Armisen portrayed Mr Wolff.
In his 2022 memoir Breaking History: A White House Memoir, Mr Kushner wrote about the 2020 Arizona projection from Fox News.
“The shocking projection brought our momentum to a screeching halt”, Mr Kushner wrote. “It instantly changed the mood among our campaign’s leaders, who were scrambling to understand the network’s methodology. Many felt that the early call would embolden people who were looking to play dirty with the vote counting in the outstanding swing states.”
He added that “up to that moment, Trump was performing even better than our models had forecast in several key states that immediately reported the results. Voter turnout was far higher than predicted, showing that our expansive ground operation had worked. We had mobilized our base, which was always an important factor in elections. But losing Arizona would drastically narrow our path to victory”.
Mr Kushner wrote that he “dialed Rupert Murdoch and asked why Fox News had made the Arizona call before hundreds of thousands of votes were tallied. Rupert said he would look into the issue, and minutes later he called back”.
“Sorry, Jared, there is nothing I can do”, he said, according to Mr Kushner. “The Fox News data authority says the numbers are ironclad – he says it won’t be close.”
The former president’s son-in-law wrote that the Trump campaign “had a different view” before he added that “based on the remaining votes to be counted, we believed that Arizona’s outstanding votes would favor Trump and that it would be razor close. After Arizona, however, negative news came in from other swing states”.
Mr Kushner wrote that the situation in 2020 was different from 2016, “when it was clear how many outstanding votes each precinct needed to count and report within hours of the polls closing”, and he added that “2020 was full of electoral anomalies”.
“At 1:40 am., with 93 percent of the vote counted, Trump was hanging on by a thread in Georgia with 50.7 percent, down from his lead of 12.7 percentage points earlier in the night”, the former presidential aide wrote. Mr Trump would go on to lose Georgia as the first Republican to do so since President Bill Clinton won the state in 1992.
In his memoir, Mr Kushner quoted Mr Trump from his speech in the East Room of the White House on election night after 2am.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” he said. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation.”