Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been fighting with Donald Trump throughout the 2016 primary, but on Wednesday he said the Republican Party “would be mad not to unify” around Trump if he becomes the nominee:
As predicted, Trump reaching out to make peace with Republican “establishment”. If he becomes inevitable party would be mad not to unify.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) March 2, 2016
The Hill recalls how Murdoch recently advised Trump to “‘calm down’ after he and aides suggested Murdoch was behind unfavorable polling released by The Wall Street Journal, another part of his media empire.”
Of course, there’s also the epic battle between Trump and Fox News, which is owned by 21st Century Fox, where Murdoch serves as executive chairman. That battle is still in progress, as Trump is apparently thinking about skipping the Fox News debate in Detroit on Thursday night, whose moderators will include Megyn Kelly, arguably Trump’s least favorite media personality.
Since everyone is presumed to have ulterior motives during this turgid primary, some will say Murdoch is either trying to make peace with Trump and coax him onto the debate stage, or set him up to look exceptionally petty if he either skips the debate, slams Fox, or gets into another confrontation with Kelly.
The possibility that Murdoch sincerely thinks it would be a huge mistake for the GOP to avoid rallying around its nominee against Hillary Clinton will be given less weight by stern critics of Murdoch and/or Trump, although Politico notes Murdoch issued a more general call for GOP unity on Sunday.
In that Tweet, Murdoch said the GOP should unify if the nominee turns out to be any of the remaining contenders. Well, almost any of them:
Both “establishment” Republicans and Trump need to cool it and close ranks to fight real enemy. Trump, Rubio, Kasich could all win general.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) February 28, 2016
Supporters of Ted Cruz, who have been accusing Fox News of largely ignoring their candidate in favor of either Trump or Marco Rubio, will not be happy to see his name missing from the list.