Breaking with a century of tradition, the influential Union Leader of New Hampshire declined to endorse the Republican nominee for President late Tuesday, calling Donald Trump a "buffoon."
The newspaper, venerated in the swing state of New Hampshire and a staple of the country's conservative publications, has endorsed the Republican nominee for more than 100 years. But in a new editorial, the Union Leader launched a withering attack against Trump and endorsed Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate for President.
“The man is a liar, a bully, a buffoon,” Joseph W. McQuaid, the Union Leader publisher, wrote of Trump in the editorial. “He denigrates any individual or group that displeases him. He has dishonored military veterans and their families, made fun of the physically frail, and changed political views almost as often as he has changed wives.”
The Union Leader did not back Trump in the primary, choosing instead to endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who finished sixth in the contest with just 7% of the vote. The endorsement didn't stop Trump from winning the primary with 35%. After Christie later endorsed Trump, McQuaid said he regretted his endorsement.
“Voters leaning toward Trump are understandably fed up with the status quo, of which Clinton is a prime example,” McQuaid wrote. “But they kid themselves if they think Trump isn’t pretty much a part of that status quo as well, or that he is in any way qualified to competently lead this nation.”
Clinton has a slim lead over Trump in New Hampshire polls, edging him by two points in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Johnson captures a sizable 15% of independent-minded New Hampshire voters, and the Union Leader endorsement could help him take more votes from the Republican nominee.