Media Empire and Megadonors Drop Trump

Trump officially launched his campaign for the 2024 presidency Tuesday night. Many forces that previously backed him are now backing DeSantis instead.

The Murdoch media empire: Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, all influential right-of-center news outlets that helped Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Now, Murdoch said that he wouldn’t back any presidential run by Trump and would back a Democrat against Trump if he had to. He’s expressed a strong preference for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The papers turn on Trump: Murdoch’s personal preferences are showing through the papers. Last week, the New York Post declared Ron DeSantis as the future of the Republican Party, Fox News said Trump has “never been weaker,” and The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.”

Republican megadonors: Two of the most influential billionaire megadonors that backed Trump in 2016, Ken Griffin and Stephen Schwarzman, have expressed their preference for DeSantis. The Florida governor has been meeting with GOP donors since at least April, with many viewing him as a “nicer version of Trump.”

Head-to-head: Gov. DeSantis has over $90 million in funding left after raising nearly $200 million for his reelection campaign. Former President Trump has over $69 million. Funding and support from megadonors are critical for primaries.

It’s all about the primaries: The forces that have dropped Trump want to orchestrate a top-down victory for DeSantis in the primaries. If Trump manages to secure the nomination without their support, which is possible, many will likely return to back the GOP with Trump at the helm.

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