Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid wrote that polling and punditry predicting Trump will win the Republican presidential nomination are "an insult to the intelligence of Republican voters. Beginning right here in New Hampshire on Feb. 9, a great majority of them will disabuse him of that notion."
"Trump can certainly be an entertaining character. He toys with TV journalists and dismisses critics with name-calling that drives the Politically Correct crowd insane," McQuaid added. "But his public descent into bathroom humor and verbal bullying has been painful, and educational, to watch."
Speaking from a warmly lit stage in a middle school gymnasium here, Trump called McQuaid "Christie’s lap dog" — a reference to the editorial board's endorsement of Christie last month.
The newspaper's circulation has declined dramatically, but its conservative editorial page remains closely watched by Republican presidential contenders, all of whom eagerly sought the endorsement.
Trump spent several minutes describing his interactions with McQuaid, saying that initially, "I thought he was an aggressive guy. He called me. He talked to me."
Trump said that McQuaid asked the businessman to help the family of James Foley, a journalist from New Hampshire who was killed by the Islamic State in a videotaped beheading. Trump said that McQuaid invited him to speak at a public event and at a presidential forum held in August — an invitation that Trump declined.
"And he was asking me for different things. And then he asked me, 'Would you play a round of golf with me up in New Hampshire?' And I said: 'I can’t take that much time. I’m not like President Obama.' . . . I can’t spend a whole day playing golf," he told the crowd.
Trump criticized McQuaid's decision to host a forum the night before the first Republican presidential debate, televised by Fox. Given the forum's proximity to the first debate, "very few people went. And it got very, very low ratings," he said.
Trump also claimed that McQuaid had vowed to "never" endorse Christie because the governor hugged Obama as the two toured devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in November 2012.
"What he did is he endorsed Christie. And that’s fine — he can do it," Trump said. "But he doesn’t understand."
McQuaid's endorsement was misguided, Trump said, because Christie has mismanaged New Jersey's economy.
"It’s Number 50 out of 50 in terms of economic development and in terms of the economy," Trump said. "It’s one of the worst for jobs. I have property in New Jersey — the taxes are through the roof. They’re through the roof."
McQuaid didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night. Trump had made similar comments about the publisher in an interview televised Monday by WMUR-TV in Manchester. Asked about those comments during an MSNBC interview, McQuaid said that Trump's response was "long overdue. I’ve been awaiting something like this since we endorsed governor Christie — who, according to Trump, I’m Christie’s hand puppet. The reaction doesn’t surprise me at all."
A spokeswoman for Christie said that the governor had no comment.
Trump began the rally at Pennichuck Middle School as if reconvening with his television or radio audience after several days of holiday repeats.
During the holiday lull "All I could do was tweet!" he said.
Trump recounted at least a dozen polls released this month, all of which show him with commanding leads.
"CNN – 36 to 16 [percent]. Right? Monmouth poll: 41 to 14. Fox — Fox: 39 to 16. Thirty-nine to 16 — listen to these numbers! I demand the election be today," he said to cheers.
Trump was making one of just a handful of campaign appearances scheduled this week in New Hampshire. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton are scheduled to make stops on Tuesday, but all risk possible cancellation because of an approaching snowstorm.
Trump is scheduled to visit Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Tuesday, Hilton Head, S.C., on Wednesday and Biloxi, Miss., on Saturday. He told an overflow crowd that he plans to spend a big chunk of his personal fortune over the next four weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses. But he voiced strong support for New Hampshire's status as the first state to hold a presidential primary.
"By the way, one thing I have to tell you: New Hampshire will always maintain its place if I win," he said at one point.
But later, he stumbled on details of the primary, telling the crowd that voting "is on February 8th? Ninth?"
"Ninth!" people in the crowd shouted.