Media mogul and Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch urged President Donald Trump to fire Steve Bannon, according to a New York Times report.
Murdoch made his comments during dinner with President Trump, General John Kelly, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump’s private golf club, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
A “person familiar with the conversation,” who spoke with the Times, said that Trump vented his frustrations with Bannon, and did not push back against the advice.
Bannon, the former chair of Breitbart News, and Murdoch were considered media competitors for a similar conservative audience, particularly during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.
Murdoch reportedly favored 2016 presidential Sen. Marco Rubio over Trump during the Republican primary, largely because the freshman senator from Florida supported comprehensive immigration reform over Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration. Murdoch also repeatedly praised 2016 Republican primary candidate Jeb Bush and Rep. Paul Ryan.
Rupert Murdoch also served as the co-chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), a powerful immigration reform advocate, and he signed a letter in support of President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. In 2014, Murdoch lamented the impact that former House Republican leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss had on the immigration reform debate.
After the 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Murdoch called for a ban on “automatic weapons,” leading pro-gun advocates to protest his demonstrable ignorance of gun rights issues.
Fox News and Megyn Kelly’s effort to damage Trump during the Republican primary debates were widely interpreted by Trump supporters as a Murdoch-inspired effort to stop Trump from winning.
“Murdoch was not a fan of Trump’s and especially did not like his stance on immigration,” reported New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, who quoted Trump as saying “Murdoch’s been very bad to me” in March.
Trump interpreted Murdoch as an enemy during the primaries, accusing the Wall Street Journal of running fixed polls to make him look bad.
Bannon also targeted Murdoch, particularly after Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
“They got it more wrong than anybody,” Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter after Trump won. “Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they’ll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly.”
Instead, Kelly left Fox and Murdoch pivoted hard to position his news network to serve as President Trump’s favorite cable news station, despite the ouster of popular host Bill O’Reilly.
But Trump sappears to appreciate Murdoch, despite their combative history. Sherman reported that the pair “speak by phone at least three times per week” and have had multiple meals together. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner also have a good relationship with Murdoch.
In May, Murdoch joined Trump for a speech in New York City, warmly introducing the president at an event honoring veterans of the Battle of the Coral Sea with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“The man I’m about to introduce believes, as I do, in challenging conventional wisdom, because conventional wisdom is often not wise at all,” Murdoch said, during the event, introducing “my friend, Donald J. Trump.”