The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, the American flagship of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, denounced President Trump on Thursday for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol and encouraged Mr. Trump to resign from office to prevent a second impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House.
In an unsigned article with the headline “Donald Trump’s Final Days,” The Journal’s editorial page — a bellwether for the conservative establishment — excoriated the president for “an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election” and said “this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure.” It described his behavior as “impeachable.”
“If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign,” The Journal wrote, concluding, “It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.”
The Journal’s editorial page, led by the editor Paul A. Gigot, has criticized Mr. Trump in the past, sometimes harshly. But its latest salvo was a striking repudiation of the president from a news outlet controlled by Mr. Murdoch, whose Fox News cable network is home to several of Mr. Trump’s most loyal and longstanding media defenders.
Mr. Murdoch’s publicists had previously indicated that he did not expect Mr. Trump to win re-election, and another Murdoch publication, The New York Post, trumpeted President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory even as Mr. Trump refused to accept the results.
The Post, in its own unsigned editorial on Thursday, stopped short of arguing that Mr. Trump should prematurely exit the White House, instead urging his aides “to stay and stop the crazy.” But given Mr. Murdoch’s influence on his newspapers’ political views, The Journal’s blunt words on Thursday were sure to sting Mr. Trump, who once craved the mogul’s approval.
The president received kinder treatment on Fox News on Wednesday night, when prime-time hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham criticized the day’s violence at the Capitol but refrained from placing blame on Mr. Trump.
A representative for Mr. Murdoch did not respond on Thursday to an inquiry for comment.
The Journal’s editorial page found common ground with Mr. Trump throughout his presidency, and several of its prominent writers resigned in protest over what they deemed a betrayal of the page’s conservative values. (One defector, Bret Stephens, is now an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times.)
The page has also routinely needled liberals. Last month, an outcry ensued after The Journal published an op-ed article arguing that Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, should drop the honorific “Dr.” from her name because she holds a doctorate in education, not a medical degree.
Even in its castigation of Mr. Trump, which was to be published in Friday’s print edition, Mr. Gigot and his staff took time to knock Democrats for impeaching the president last year over what the paper deemed merely “ham-handed” offenses, saying the party had “abused the process.”
But this week’s events in Washington, the paper wrote, showed that Mr. Trump “has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose.”
“The best case for impeachment is not to punish Mr. Trump,” the paper wrote. “It is to send a message to future presidents that Congress will protect itself from populists of all ideological stripes willing to stir up a mob.”
Michael M. Grynbaum
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