New York tabloid known for outlandish anti-Trump covers axes half its newsroom staff

The New York Daily News – whose over-the-top anti-Trump coverage could not stem years of red ink – laid off half of its newsroom staff on Monday despite calls from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the tabloid to reconsider.

Employees received an email on Monday explaining that the Tronc-owned paper is “fundamentally restructuring” to focus on its digital audience.

“We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50 percent and re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news."

— New York Daily News

“We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50 percent and re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news – especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility,” the memo, which was obtained by Fox News, stated.

“I know this is difficult news to hear and want to assure you we are working hard to treat each employee with respect and to make the transition as smooth as possible,” the memo stated.

The tabloid’s human resources department promised to reach out to all affected employees by the end of the day on Monday and layoffs are effective immediately, but exiting staffers will be paid for the next 90 days.

“The decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,” the memo continued. “They are not a reflection on the significant talent that is leaving today.

The paper’s now-former editor in chief Jim Rich and managing editor Kristen Lee were among the cuts, with Robert York taking over as the tabloid’s top editor. Rich returned to the role earlier this year after first splitting with the paper in 2016. He has now removed all mention of the Daily News from his Twitter bio, replacing it with “Just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction.”

“If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you,” Rich tweeted.

The Daily News has become known for its outlandish, anti-Trump cover images. The paper recently featured an illustration depicting Trump as a Supreme Court justice with the headline, "We Are F*#%’d.” The paper has also depicted Trump as numerous variations of a clown, a racist, “nuts,” the “anti-Christ” and even the poop emoji.

The tabloid called Trump voters “mindless zombies” and categorized Trump a “Dead Clown Walking” when he failed to win the Iowa caucus in 2016.

The Daily News was criticized for referring to Ivanka Trump as “Daddy’s Little Ghoul,” mocking the first daughter. Political commentator Britt McHenry told Fox News that the cover was “reprehensible” and lacked “any sort of decency.”

Politico reported in 2017 that some members of management felt the anti-Trump direction of the paper was having a negative impact on the paper’s bottom line by “costing the News subscriptions in places like Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.”

Tronc acquired the paper from Mort Zuckerman in 2017 for only $1, assuming liabilities and debt in the process. The paper had been losing money for years, as part of a trend faced by print newspapers competing for advertising dollars with digital behemoths like Facebook and Google.

Cuomo tweeted a statement urging parent-company Tronc to “reconsider this drastic move,” because it will “devastate many households and hurt an important New York institution and one of our nation’s journalism giants.”

Tronc declined comment when reached by Fox News.