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New York Post to Donald Trump: Stop the insanity

CNN's Brian Stelter explains the significance of a New York Post article calling on Trump to accept his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Posted: Dec 29, 2020 7:21 AM
Updated: Dec 29, 2020 7:21 AM

President Donald Trump's favorite newspaper has turned against him.

The New York Post, in an editorial that got the front-page, giant-font treatment on Monday, told Trump he needs to give up his baseless fight to overturn the presidential election result.

"Mr. President ... STOP THE INSANITY," read the front page of the tabloid, famous for outlandish headlines. "You lost the election -- here's how to save your legacy."

If that wasn't clear enough, the top of the editorial got right to the point:

"Mr. President, it's time to end this dark charade," the Post's editorial board wrote. "You're cheering for an undemocratic coup."

The editorial from the Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is hardly the first time a Murdoch-owned news outlet has distanced itself from Trump and his refusal to concede the election. The Wall Street Journal's editorial board on November 6 urged Trump to concede once he was declared the loser (most other media organizations called the election the next day, and the electoral college voted for President-elect Joe Biden on December 14). The Journal argued Trump's legacy would be greatly diminished if his final act were "a bitter refusal to accept a legitimate defeat."

Fox News, owned by Murdoch's Fox Corp., has acknowledged Biden is the president-elect despite its prime-time hosts' defense of Trump's refusal to concede.

And at the Post itself, top Murdoch lieutenant Col Allan confirmed he will retire from the paper in 2021. Allan was instrumental in pushing the Post in a pro-Trump direction. Last summer, for example, CNN reported that Allan ordered the removal of a story on a Trump sexual assault allegation.

But the new editorial was notable for its sharp-worded dismissal of Trump's misinformation campaign about the election result and multi-pronged, flailing effort to remain in power.

The Post criticized Trump for undermining the election results long after his legal team found nothing to substantiate widespread election fraud that would have tipped the scales in Biden's favor. The newspaper called Trump election lawyer Sidney Powell "crazy," and it also said pardoned former Trump NSA director Michael Flynn was treasonous for his suggestion that Trump impose martial law.

"We understand, Mr. President, that you're angry that you lost. But to continue down this road is ruinous. We offer this as a newspaper that endorsed you, that supported you: If you want to cement your influence, even set the stage for a future return, you must channel your fury into something more productive."

The editorial insisted that Trump use his remaining days in office to fight for Republicans to win both Senate run-off elections in Georgia, lest Democrats gain control of both chambers of the legislature. Beyond preventing Democrats from enacting laws and regulations that Republicans detest, the Post noted a Democratic Senate could threaten the President's legacy. Republicans would be licking their wounds and less likely to listen to Trump, the Post argued.

"Democrats will try to write you off as a one-term aberration and, frankly, you're helping them do it," the editorial board wrote. "The King Lear of Mar-a-Lago, ranting about the corruption of the world."

The Post echoed concerns held by Democrats and Republicans alike that a lame-duck President Trump, unbound to any consequence and unswayed by shame, poses a danger to the future of the United States. The editorial board cautioned Trump against that approach, noting he still has something to fight for: how Americans remember him.

"If you insist on spending your final days in office threatening to burn it all down, that will be how you are remembered. Not as a revolutionary, but as the anarchist holding the match."

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