This has been coming since Joe McQuaid likened Donald Trump to the movie character Biff from "Back to the Future," and now it's official: The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., has refused to endorse the Republican presidential nominee for the first time in a century. The Granite State's largest newspaper is backing Libertarian Gary Johnson and running mate Bill Weld instead, writing that "in today’s dark times, they are a bright light of hope and reason."
McQuaid, the paper's publisher, ignited a memorable feud with Trump in December, when he slammed the real estate mogul in a front-page editorial that included the comparison to the bullying Biff.
"Trump has shown himself to be a crude blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of President of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds," McQuaid wrote at the time.
Trump returned fire at a rally in Nashua the same day, calling McQuaid a "lowlife" and a "sleaze bag."
Given the name-calling, it is not shocking that the Union Leader would reject Trump. Then again, Trump has said that he and McQuaid were previously on friendly terms, so reconciliation had remained a possibility.
And there was history to consider. The Union Leader has always endorsed the GOP nominee, even when it doesn't like him. As McQuaid wrote in his endorsement of Johnson, the paper told readers to hold their noses and reelect Richard Nixon in 1972.
"No need to hold your nose" this time, McQuaid wrote.
The Union Leader is now the fifth conservative-leaning newspaper of note to withhold its endorsement from Trump. The Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle are backing Hillary Clinton; the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal and the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch have recommended Johnson.
As I wrote Monday, Johnson has more daily newspaper endorsements than Trump. As of right now, Trump has none.