Donald Trump came to the mountains of New Hampshire on Sunday but the New Hampshire Union Leader, a conservative newspaper in a state with a proud conservative tradition, didn’t come to him.
In an editorial, the newspaper’s board back Joe Biden for president, writing that while Trump is “not always 100% wrong … he is 100% wrong for America.”
It was the first time in more than 100 years the paper had backed a Democrat.
As election day nears with Joe Biden ahead in national and battleground state polls, Trump has seen a string of endorsements go against him. Among national papers, USA Today made its first official choice – for Biden.
At the weekend in Kansas, a solidly Republican state set to back Trump for president, the Topeka Capital-Journal also went for the Democrat.
Biden “should be the next president of the United States”, its editorial board said, “because he is caring, trustworthy and experienced. He should be the next president of the United States because he has committed to following the science and leading our country out of this pandemic.”
A day later, at the White House, Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows admitted defeat against Covid-19, saying: “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”
“Yes, you might have heard that [Biden] is also a Democrat,” the Topeka paper added. “He deserves your support anyway.”
Trump sought support in New Hampshire on Sunday, despite the state only offering four electoral votes and despite polling averages showing Biden with a lead of more than 10 points.
He was greeted by the Union Leader’s editorial, which said: “Joe Biden may not be the president we want, but in 2020 he is the president we desperately need. He will be a president to bring people together and right the ship of state.”
At the rally, Trump insisted the US was “rounding the turn” on Covid. Recently recovered from his own bout with Covid-19, he did not discuss record daily case numbers, a national death toll approaching 225,000 or an outbreak among senior staff to his vice-president, Mike Pence.
The Union Leader has broken with the Republican candidate before, four years ago, when it backed Chris Christie in the primary, earning Trump’s rage, then endorsed the Libertarian Gary Johnson for president.
On Sunday it said it expected to disagree with Biden as president, and suggested readers should “split the ballot and elect a healthy dose of GOP senators and representatives”.
But, it concluded: “Sadly, President Trump has proven himself to be the antithesis of thoughtful and pragmatic. He has failed to earn a second term.”