Donald Trump’s current plan while still president of the United States appears to be to disrupt the results of the election that will remove him from office come January. But once he’s done toying with the idea of a soft coup, it seems he may simply wind up back on television.
It’s long been rumored that Trump wanted to start his own TV network, and several reports have said that he thought that would be a good Plan B if he lost in 2016. But his new anger at Fox News for calling the election for Joe Biden in Arizona, among other perceived slights, may push him and his surrogates to make that a reality, creating a conservative network that rivals Fox News.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, surrogates of the president are interested in making a bid for Newsmax, a small conservative TV network that’s seen gaining Trump fans who think that Fox News just isn’t conservative enough anymore.
Hicks Equity Partners, a private-equity firm with ties to a co-chair of the Republican National Committee, has held talks in recent months about acquiring and investing in Newsmax, according to people familiar with the matter, part of a larger effort that could also include a streaming-video service.
Newsmax’s viewership has risen sharply since Election Day, as it wins over viewers loyal to Mr. Trump who are frustrated that Fox News and other networks have declared Democrat Joe Biden the president-elect. Newsmax hosts have promoted Mr. Trump’s claims that the election was stolen. No evidence of significant fraud has emerged or been presented.
As noted in the WSJ story, Trump has a “complicated” relationship with Fox News. The network’s opinion shows, led by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, continue to support Trump and his baseless accusations about the election. The problem is, the network’s news department has to report, you know, the news. That includes the network’s decision desk, and you just can’t editorialize a reality Trump won’t accept.
Talks seem preliminary right now, but it seems to make sense that Trump’s pivot would be involved in taking some sort of revenge on the network for reporting the facts. Trump still insists the election isn’t over, but that bit can only last for so long. Eventually, he’ll have to occupy himself with something else, and that something just might be taking vengeance upon Fox News.