Hours before President Trump is due to hold a rally in Orlando billed as the kickoff to his reelection campaign, the Orlando Sentinel announced who it is endorsing for president in 2020: not Donald Trump.
“Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent,” the paper said in a scathing editorial today.
“Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.”
The Sentinel has mostly endorsed Republicans since 1960, but in recent years it has been more independent.
It endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, and Hillary Clinton in 2016.
It said it would strongly consider a Republican candidate like Romney or former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
But Trump’s erratic behavior and petulant, dishonest statements in office pushed the Sentinel to its non-endorsement.
“After 2 1/2 years we’ve seen enough,” the editorial board said. “Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.”
The Sentinel pointed to the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” a database that has documented more than 10,000 false or misleading claims made by Trump since he took office.
“There was a time when even a single lie — a phony college degree, a bogus work history — would doom a politician’s career,” the Sentinel said. “Not so for Trump, who claimed in 2017 that he lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally (they didn’t). In 2018 he said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat (it is). And in 2019 he said windmills cause cancer (they don’t). Just last week he claimed the media fabricated unfavorable results from his campaign’s internal polling (it didn’t).”
It also pointed out Trump’s notorious behavior on the world stage.
“Trump insults political opponents and national heroes alike with middle-school taunts,” the editorial stated. “He demonstrates no capacity for empathy or remorse. He misuses his office to punish opponents, as when he recently called for a boycott of AT&T to get even with his least favorite media outlet, CNN. He tears down institutions, once airily suggesting the U.S. should try having a leader for life as China now allows. He seems incapable of learning a lesson, telling an ABC interviewer last week — just two months after Robert Mueller’s report on election interference was released — that he would accept dirt on an opponent from Russia or China.”
Trump’s odd relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin was also highlighted.
“This nation must never forget that humiliating public moment in Helsinki in 2018 when the president of the United States chose to accept Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election over the unanimous assessment of the American intelligence community,” the paper wrote. “Such a betrayal by a U.S. president would have been the unforgivable political sin in normal times. As if that’s not enough, Trump declares his love for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, a genuine villain who starves and enslaves his people and executes his enemies with antiaircraft guns and flamethrowers.”
The editorial concluded, “The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that. We can do better. We have to do better.”
The editorial was published to coincide with Trump’s rally at Orlando’s Amway Center.
Last night, hundreds of people began lining up outside the arena, which has a capacity of about 20,000.