NH Union Leader confesses it erred in backing Christie
By NBP Staff | March 1, 2016, 13:25 EDT
MANCHESTER, N.H. – The largest newspaper in New Hampshire published an editorial Monday confessing that its endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in last month’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary left it with “egg” on its face, citing the governor’s turnabout to back Donald Trump.
Christie declared his support for the bombastic billionaire “despite specifically telling us that he would never endorse him,” the New Hampshire Union Leader said in an editorial by Joe McQuaid, the publisher of the Manchester-based newspaper.
“Boy, were we wrong,” McQuaid wrote. “Watching Christie kiss the Donald’s ring this weekend — and make excuses for the man Christie himself had said was unfit for the presidency — demonstrated how wrong we were.”
“We thought that as a Republican governor in a Democratic-leading state he had the skills and experience the presidency needs (and hasn’t had of late),” McQuaid wrote. “We also thought he had the best chance to take on and face down Donald Trump.”
In its November endorsement, also written by McQuaid, the newspaper said it was supporting Christie because of his record as a federal prosecutor and as a conservative governor leading a liberal state:
“Chris Christie is a solid, pro-life conservative who has managed to govern in liberal New Jersey, face down the big public unions, and win a second term. Gov. Christie can work across the aisle, but he won’t get rolled by the bureaucrats.”
“Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly,” the paper said in a not-so-veiled reference to Trump. “But it’s important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about.”
In his confessional, McQuaid said Christie capitulated to the populist former reality television star rather than sticking with his earlier assessment that Trump was unsuited to be president.
Christie, who also won the backing of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a fellow Republican, just before the Feb. 9 primary, finished sixth with 7.4 percent of the vote. He quickly dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, which Trump has led after winning in the Granite State with 35 percent of the vote. Trump also won the Feb. 20 South Carolina Republican primary, with 32 percent of the vote.
On Friday, with just a few days left before Super Tuesday’s voting would begin, Christie endorsed Trump, saying “I will lend my support between now and November in any way for Donald,” CNN reported. On Monday, Christie told a radio talk-show host in New Jersey that Trump “fits the bill” as a president, according to ABC News.
“Rather than standing up to the bully, Christie bent his knee,” McQuaid wrote. “In doing so, he rejected the very principles of his campaign that attracted our support.”
McQuaid suggested Christie’s actions might “wake up” Trump supporters. “We will look for that, just as soon as we get the egg off our face.”