In his role as the donor class's darling, Marco Rubio has enjoyed support from the Republicans' media arm, Fox News. Throughout the primary, Fox provided Rubio with friendly interviews and key bookings, including the first prime-time response to Barack Obama's Oval Office address on ISIS. Many of the network's top pundits, including Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, have been enthusiastic boosters. Bill Sammon, Fox's Washington managing editor, is the father of Rubio's communications director, Brooke Sammon.On Twitter, Sherman follows up:
But this alliance now seems to be over. According to three Fox sources, Fox chief Roger Ailes has told people he's lost confidence in Rubio's ability to win. "We're finished with Rubio," Ailes recently told a Fox host. "We can't do the Rubio thing anymore."
Big question now is will Murdoch allow Ailes to let Fox get on board with Trump if he becomes the nominee??https://t.co/5iYMGnyYKg— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) March 2, 2016
Which leads to this exchange:
@IChotiner No. Roger likes Trump in private. Even though they fight there's a real friendship there.— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) March 2, 2016
But Murdoch now seems ready to accept Trump as 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
As Politico's Nick Gass notes:
Murdoch last tweeted about Trump on Sunday, urging the factions of the party to "close ranks" -- pointedly excluding Ted Cruz on his list of plausible nominees.
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
But isn't there a huge stop-Trump effort under way on the right? Isn't Mitt Romney going to give a big anti-Trump speech today?
And remember. Murdoch can't stand Romney, so if Romney gets in, hard to see Fox supporting Romneyhttps://t.co/5iYMGnyYKg— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) March 2, 2016
In fact, Murdoch's New York Post published this editorial yesterday:
Why would anyone want Mitt Romney’s political advice?And here's another Post editorial that went up yesterday:
Mitt Romney is back, offering to share the sage political wisdom that won him the White House in 2012.
Oh, wait. President Obama beat him -- despite a sagging economy and terrible approval ratings....
Because a one-term governor of Massachusetts -- the author of RomneyCare, the model for ObamaCare -- is the obvious guy to save the Republican Party....
In fact -- as Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch said outright to CNN -- it looks like Romney’s aiming for a deadlocked GOP convention that would then nominate ... him.
Because he hasn’t led Republicans to enough disasters.
Just go away, Mitt. Just go away.
Republican rogues’ low-down, dumb reply to Trump’s call for unitySo it looks as if Murdoch is coming around. What does this mean about tonight's Republican debate on Fox, in which Trump will again confront Megyn Kelly? Is Kelly going to hit Trump hard again?
After Super Tuesday made him the clear Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump made a strong, sincere bid to start reuniting the party. In response, some sore losers are pushing for Republicans to give up on winning the White House in hopes of saving the Republican Senate majority.
This isn’t just low, it’s dumb....
[Trump is] probably the best top-of-the-ticket for Republicans in such Senate-battleground blue and purple states as Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire because he has such huge working-class appeal.
The best, that is, as long as GOP losers don’t drive down Republican turnout by going nuclear against their own nominee.
To judge from this New York Times story, probably not:
Fox News shattered cable news records with 24 million viewers for its first debate, in August. Mr. Trump was angered that night by Ms. Kelly’s questioning of his treatment of women....Yup, she's definitely going to back off. Oh, sure, she might ask him, for instance, about his evasions on the subject of David Duke -- she did that with Trump surrogate Katrina Pierson on Monday night. I'm told that Kelly "grilled" Pierson, and, yes, Kelly is persistent in this clip, but she gives Pierson ample opportunity to repeat Trump's absurd talking points about failed earpieces and whether Duke's words constituted a literal endorsement:
Ms. Kelly described her question as a level “10.”
“One of the reasons the first debate was so dynamic was because we opened up with a 10 for each candidate,” said Ms. Kelly, explaining that the moderating team was trying to probe “the Achilles’ heel” of each candidate and get them to respond....
On Thursday night, since Mr. Trump and his opponents are well known by now, Ms. Kelly added, “I doubt the very first question of the debate will be from me to Trump.” That’s not to say there wouldn’t be a “10” for him Thursday night. “We probably want to ease into it a little more.”
“I’m sure we could just throw out at any point, I mean, you take your pick: ‘The fingers, go!’” she joked, alluding to Mr. Rubio’s remarks last week that Mr. Trump had small hands. “That’s not going to be one of the questions, but there’s so many issues on which they’ll engage now.”
Kelly tweeted a Pierson quote yesterday, but it had nothing to do with David Duke:
And, of course, on the night of Super Tuesday, Kelly agreed with Fox's Bret Baier that Trump "looked presidential":
"Donald Trump using this night in a news conference that was, Megyn, a different environment. It was a different look and frankly it kind of looked presidential," FOX News Channel anchor Bret Baier commented.Expecting Kelly-Trump fireworks tonight? Don't. Her bosses really don't seem to want the fight to continue.
"Very smart," Kelly agreed....
"Not only that, but holding himself out there, striking a reasonable tone," Kelly said. "He wasn't full of the normal bombast, there a few jabs, but sounding presidential which sort of will help some of his detractors see him in a different light perhaps, and focusing most of his on Hillary Clinton."
"I think it was interesting when he said I'm a unifier," Kelly observed. "I know it's hard to believe, but I'm a unifier. Once I get all this finished, I'm going to go after one person. Hillary Rodham Clinton. If she's allowed to run. But that is the one thing that the Republican party as a whole wants to hear."
Fox's Megyn Kelly on Trump: 'He knows he can handle me. He can handle any interviewer:' https://t.co/X8ABuyUO3k— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) March 3, 2016
Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly says she's not anticipating any more fights with Donald Trump in Thursday's Republican presidential debate, and that she's preparing the same "tough but fair" questions for him as she does for other candidates....
"It was never personal from my point of view," Kelly said. "I understand he was upset. I didn't take it personally and I certainly don't have anything against him. I find him a very fascinating person to cover."