“Give it up, Mr. President — for your sake and the nation’s.”
In a blunt editorial, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, a tabloid that promoted Donald J. Trump long before he went into politics, told the president to end his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The Monday front page showed a downcast president and the all-caps headline “Stop the Insanity.” The publication’s website also highlighted the editorial, written by The Post’s editorial board, featuring it at the top of the home page.
“Mr. President, it’s time to end this dark charade,” began the editorial.
It blasted Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the House and Senate should try to disrupt the tallying of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. It also ridiculed Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign who pushed conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States. And it said that a suggestion by Michael T. Flynn, the former lieutenant general who served as Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, to impose martial law was “tantamount to treason.”
“You have tweeted that, as long as Republicans have ‘courage,’ they can overturn the results and give you four more years in office,” the Post editorial said.
“In other words,” it continued, “you’re cheering for an undemocratic coup.”
The Post helped make Mr. Trump a New York celebrity decades ago, and it was an early backer of his political ambitions, endorsing him in the Republican primary ahead of the 2016 election.
In January 2019, as Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign was under way, the paper brought back its former longtime editor in chief, Col Allan, an Australian tabloid wizard who was once seen wearing a Make America Great Again cap in the newsroom. Mr. Allan, in the role of newsroom adviser, helped shape the paper’s election coverage, and The Post’s editorial board gave Mr. Trump its endorsement in a front-page editorial on Oct. 26 headlined “Make America Great Again, Again.”
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Since Election Day, however, The Post’s tone has changed.
In an interview with The Times shortly after Joseph R. Biden Jr. emerged as the winner of the presidential election, Mr. Allan said he was calling an end to his four-decade career at Murdoch papers in the United States and Australia. And on Nov. 7, The Post’s editorial board published some tough-love advice to Mr. Trump: “President Trump, your legacy is secure — stop the ‘stolen election’ rhetoric.”
The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, another paper controlled by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp, has taken a similar line. “President Trump accomplished a great deal in four years, but as he leaves office he can’t seem to help reminding Americans why they denied him a second term,” began a Dec. 20 editorial headlined “Trump’s Bad Exit.”
It concluded: “Mr. Trump doesn’t want to admit he lost, and he can duck the inauguration if he likes. But his sore loser routine is beginning to grate even on millions who voted for him.”
Television personalities in the Murdoch media empire have also changed their tune.
Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, of Fox Business, and Jeanine Pirro, of Fox News, seemed to back attempts by the president and his acolytes to undo the election results — until recently. This month, the programs hosted by the three anchors included three-minute segments intended to debunk on-air claims that the 2020 vote had been rigged. The segments ran after Antonio Mugica, the head of the election technology company Smartmatic, threatened legal action against media companies that had broadcast statements suggesting that the company had a role in the vote fraud.
In its front-page attack on Monday, The Post’s editorial board, run by its longtime editor, Mark Q. Cunningham, appealed directly to Mr. Trump.
“We understand, Mr. President, that you’re angry that you lost,” it said. “But to continue down this road is ruinous.”
“Democrats will try to write you off as a one-term aberration and, frankly, you’re helping them do it,” the editorial continued. “The King Lear of Mar-a-Lago, ranting about the corruption of the world.”
In conclusion, it said, “If you insist on spending your final days in office threatening to burn it all down, that will be how you are remembered. Not as a revolutionary, but as the anarchist holding the match.”