Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
Rupert Murdoch wants Glenn Youngkin to join the GOP presidential field, per The Washington Post.
Murdoch doesn’t think Trump is a healthy figure for the Republican Party, according to the report.
Youngkin reportedly hopes to wait until the conclusion of key November races to make a decision.
Billionaire media baron Rupert Murdoch has repeatedly urged Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia to jump into the Republican presidential primary, according to The Washington Post.
Murdoch made the push in at least two meetings with Youngkin several months ago, according to two individuals who have knowledge of the encounters.
The revelation comes after The New York Times reported that Murdoch was interested in a Youngkin presidential bid, with the Fox News Corp. chairman also reportedly expressing his view that former President Donald Trump is unhealthy for the Republican Party.
The Times piece also highlighted how Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, once seen as the savior of Republicans looking to move on from Trump, has faced tougher coverage from right-leaning media outlets as his presidential bid struggles against the former president’s enduring dominance among GOP voters.
Murdoch’s second meeting with Youngkin occurred in the spring, while the timing of the earlier discussion is unclear, according to The Post.
Youngkin, who was elected in 2021 in what was a breakthrough victory for Republicans in blue-trending Virginia, has put his energy into maintaining GOP control of the state House of Delegates and flipping the state Senate — which if successful would bolster his national profile even further.
According to The Post, Youngkin wants to wait until after the November legislative elections in Virginia to gauge his party’s performance before potentially pursuing a presidential bid.
Such a late entry would be difficult, however, as many top GOP leaders may already be aligned behind Trump or other candidates at that point, while the logistics of fundraising and missed filing deadlines could also hamper a potential campaign no matter what happens in Virginia this fall.
Dave Rexrode, the chairman of Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC, pointed to the governor’s accomplishments when explaining why his name was continually being floated as a leader to watch.
“Virginia’s getting attention because parents still matter and Governor Youngkin’s commonsense conservative leadership is working,” he said in a written statement to The Post. “There’s more to do, so the governor’s not taking his eye off Virginia. These races are too important.”
Murdoch has not been a fan of Trump’s continued rejection of the 2020 presidential results, with the media magnate feeling as though it will only hurt the party at the ballot box. And Murdoch has also recognized that Trump’s campaign against the integrity of the 2020 election hurt his company, which in April reached a $787 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems in the voting machine company’s defamation lawsuit over the network’s coverage of unsubstantiated claims regarding the 2020 race.
An individual familiar with the talks between Murdoch and Youngkin said that the billionaire has also prodded others to go up against Trump, similar to a push to get former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg to run in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. (Bloomberg later ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.)
“Not everyone listens to Rupert, and Rupert’s instincts are not always perfect,” the individual told The Post. “But he has always believed that some competition is better than none at all, and he would like to see some debate about the issues in the primary.”
The group of individuals familiar with the Youngkin discussions also stated that Murdoch could still support Trump in 2024, but has so far not committed to anything given the continued fallout over the settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.