Trump goes after Fox for Dominion settlement ‘insult’ to election deniers

The former president fumed this week that Fox wouldn’t defend his conspiracies in court

John Bowden
Washington DC
Wednesday 03 May 2023 20:50 BST
Trump poses for photographers to get perfect shot as he plays golf in Scotland

Donald Trump fumed at Fox News on Wednesday in his first public comments discussing the Dominion Voting Systems settlement with a reporter.

The ex-president was speaking with British broadcaster and onetime politician Nigel Farage in an interview when the two broached the subject, typically a topic that conservative newscasters shy away from when speaking to the former president.

As he lambasted the network for the “insult” of reaching a settlement with Dominion, the ex-president complained that Rupert Murdoch was “wrong” to believe that he could not successfully defend the conspiratorial nonsense that the Trump campaign was spreading in 2020 (and which Mr Trump continues to push) in court.

“The election was rigged, and Rupert Murdoch should have talked about it,” Mr Trump insisted.

"But Rupert Murdoch doesn't believe he can win a court case on that,” his interviewer responded.

Mr Trump then shot back: "But Rupert Murdoch is wrong."

FoxCorp chairman Rupert Murdoch’s admittance that key personalities at the network had “endorsed” election conspiracies, beyond merely platforming them, was a key part of the testimony produced during the bruising months-long discovery phase of Dominion’s $787m lawsuit against the conservative news giant. During that testimony, Mr Murdoch admitted that his network could have done more to make clear that the conspiracies being pushed by the Trump campaign and its allies in 2020 and 2021 were simply not true.

In that same discovery phase, however, the groundwork was laid for the defeat of any attempt, as Mr Trump had apparently wished, by Fox lawyers to argue that there had been some truth to the charges of widespread election fraud or voter fraud that Trump-aligned Republicans claimed was responsible for the former president’s defeat to Joe Biden.

To the contrary, Fox primetime opinion personalities -- like the now-fired Tucker Carlson -- were found in text messages and other formats to have been privately denigrating the very claims made by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and others on their shows.

There’s also the issue of the numerous statements from Mr Trump’s former lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, admitting that the Trump campaign never had any evidence to prove the existance of the kind of wide-scale fraud that the former president alleged had occurred.

Mr Trump nevertheless continues to insist at every available opportunity that the 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen” and uses the issue to determine whether other members of his party are sufficiently loyal. That insistence on support for his election conspiracies is now thought to have played a part in the GOP’s poor performance in the 2022 midterm elections, where the party failed to take the Senate and squeezed by with only a paper-thin majority in the House.

Polls have indicated that candidates like Kari Lake who supported Mr Trump’s falsehoods about 2020 underperformed other Republicans in their respective general election contests by several percentage points.

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