President Donald Trump has had few more stalwart backers in the media than the New York Post editorial board. The Rupert Murdoch-controlled tabloid was among the first to endorse Mr Trump four years ago, and this year urged voters to give him a second term.
But the Post aimed a blistering editorial at Mr Trump, demanding that he accept his loss to President-elect Joe Biden and to stop falsely claiming that mass voter fraud had marred the results – an effort the paper labelled a “dark charade”.
“We understand, Mr President, that you’re angry that you lost,” the editorial board wrote. “But to continue down this road is ruinous.”
Under the headline “Stop the Insanity”, the conservative tabloid took particular aim at Mr Trump’s attempts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans to somehow reverse the result when they meet on January 6 to certify Mr Biden’s electoral college victory.
“You have tweeted that, as long as Republicans have ‘courage’, they can overturn the results and give you four more years in office,” the Post wrote. “In other words, you’re cheering for an undemocratic coup.”
The editorial is among the most stinging rebukes yet from the Trump-friendly confines of conservative media, where the president’s most ardent supporters still refuse to call Mr Biden “president-elect” and give airtime to Mr Trump’s baseless claims of voting fraud.
The New York Post, which is reportedly among Mr Trump’s favourite publications, has long been a vociferous backer of his political ambitions.
In 2016, it lavished him with positive covers as he rose through the GOP primaries, culminating in an endorsement that April.
Although the paper declined to endorse Mr Trump or his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the general election, the editorial board did back Mr Trump over Mr Biden this year, writing that another term would be “the best choice for the United States”.
The paper warned Mr Trump that he had clearly failed in his attempts to prove voter fraud propelled Mr Biden to victory.
“You had every right to investigate the election. But let’s be clear: Those efforts have found nothing,” the Post wrote, noting that Trump-backed recounts in Wisconsin and Georgia had turned up no evidence of malfeasance.
The editorial also lashed out at Sidney Powell, whose “Kraken” lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results have repeatedly been tossed out of court, and Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who has floated the idea of declaring martial law to keep Mr Trump in power. “Michael Flynn suggesting martial law is tantamount to treason. It is shameful,” the board wrote.
The Post urged Mr Trump to focus on the January 5 run-off elections in Georgia, which will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate. Continuing to falsely assert that he won the election, the paper warned, would give his political enemies more material to tar his legacy.
“Democrats will try to write you off as a one-term aberration and, frankly, you’re helping them do it,” the paper wrote.
“The King Lear of Mar-a-Lago, ranting about the corruption of the world.”
The Trump campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the editorial. (© Washington Post)
© Washington Post