The German media mogul who owns the news site Politico has come under fire on Twitter after a report cited emails he wrote hailing Donald Trump while “praying” that he gets re-elected as president.
Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Berlin-based conglomerate Axel Springer, emailed his top lieutenants just weeks before Trump would go on to lose to Joe Biden in the Nov. 2020 presidential elections.
“Do we all want to get together for an hour in the morning on November 3 and pray that Donald Trump will again become President of the United States of America?” Döpfner wrote in the email, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
In the email, Döpfner praised Trump for his policies as president as they relate to what he considers some of the most important issues of recent decades, including “defending the free democracies” against Russia and China, encouraging NATO allies to increase their defense spending, pursuing peace in the Middle East, and overhauling US tax laws.
“No American administration in the last 50 years has done more,” Döpfner wrote.
According to The Washington Post, Döpfner denied having ever written the email.
“That’s intrinsically false,” he told the newspaper.
“That doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined.”
But when The Washington Post showed him a copy of the email, Döpfner conceded that he may have sent the email “as an ironic, provocative statement in the circle of people that hate Donald Trump.”
The Axel Springer executive said that he often provokes his top aides just to get a rise out of them.
“That is me,” he said. “That could be.”
Döpfner, who reportedly lamented the leftward tilt of legacy outlets like The New York Times while also decrying the more conspiratorial tone of pro-Trump news organizations, told The Washington Post that he envisions Politico as a centrist news source.
“We want to prove that being nonpartisan is actually the more successful positioning,” he said, calling it his “biggest and most contrarian bet.”
Democrat-leaning Twitter users, however, were enraged by the reported email. They do not appear convinced that Politico will be centrist or objective.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Cal.) tweeted: “Dear Politico CEO: If you are going to be a Trump supporter, at least have the courage to admit it.”
“Lying is never a good look for a media organization’s CEO,” Lieu wrote.
“You didn’t just remain silent or say you didn’t remember. You went above and beyond and embellished your lie.”
Keith Olbermann, the former MSNBC commentator, tweeted: “Congrats Politico. You not only worked for a ‘neutral’ owner who prays for Trump but when confronted with the email confirming it says ‘That doesn’t exist. It has never been sent and has never been even imagined’ then says…oh yeah maybe that’s me.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, the civil rights lawyer, tweeted that the revelations about Döpfner “filled me with greater dread.”