Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who is considered a conservative kingmaker as the man behind Fox News, thinks Donald Trump is “wrong” about immigrants.
On Twitter on Sunday night, Murdoch acknowledged Trump’s popularity but took a swipe at the candidate’s comments about illegal immigration.
Trump’s campaign to be the Republican presidential candidate has swelled in support and media attention following his controversial remarks about the threat posed by undocumented immigrants in the United States.
He sparked outrage by saying that some people crossing the border from Mexico were “rapists” and “criminals.”
The comments found support among some, but also a pile of criticism. A slew of corporations, including Macy’s, NBC, Univision and ESPN responded to his inflammatory remarks by severing business ties with the real estate magnate.
And on Sunday, the influential Murdoch added his voice to the chorus.
“Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rate than native born,” Murdoch wrote on his Twitter account. He cited El Paso as one of the safest cities, and added, “Trump wrong.”
Murdoch’s voice is one of the most influential in the Republican party – his tweets are picked apart for clues about who he might be backing and, just as important, who he might be opposing.
On Sunday night, he wrote that Trump’s popularity is “based on frustration with DC and endless regulations over people’s lives. Thought this was Rand Paul’s issue.”
Murdoch has previously praised Paul.
On Sunday night, Murdoch also sent a second tweet challenging Trump’s claims.
“So FBI says 267000 illegal aliens incarcerated. Who are the other two million presently incarcerated?” Murdoch tweeted.
Other government figures have provided a lower estimate, such as a 2013 Bureau of Judicial Statistics report that said there were about 73,600 noncitizens in federal and state prison.
A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office estimated there were 249,000 noncitizens incarcerated. According to that report, about 65% were charged with an immigration violation.
And Murdoch has expressed moderate views about immigration in the past. In March he lambasted unspecified Republicans for “talking immigration nonsense on strengthening the border while no net inflow from Mexico for long time.”
Murdoch’s latest tweets come at a time when media commentators of all stripes are struggling to figure out what to say and how to feel about Trump.
It’s almost palpable on Fox News. Some hours, they’re leaning in, embracing the controversial candidate’s ratings-grabbing comments, other times they’re expressing skepticism and avoiding giving him too much attention.
Trump used to be a weekly guest on Fox News’ morning show, an arrangement that only ended when he declared for president.