N.H. newspaper that endorsed Chris Christie: ‘Boy, were we wrong’

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Christie and Trump arrive for a campaign rally in Millington, Tenn., on Saturday. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht/Reuters)

In a stunning admission rarely seen in the media world, New Hampshire’s Union Leader says it was wrong to endorse Chris Christie.

Back in November, Union Leader publisher Joseph W. McQuaid explained why the newspaper was endorsing the New Jersey governor for president.

“Gov. Christie is right for these dangerous times,” McQuaid wrote in a Nov. 28 editorial. “He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. But the one reason he may be best-suited to lead during these times is because he tells it like it is and isn’t shy about it. Other candidates have gained public and media attention by speaking bluntly. But it’s important when you are telling it like it is to actually know what you are talking about.”

Christie finished a distant sixth in the New Hampshire Republican primary and suspended his campaign. That didn’t bother McQuaid. But Christie’s surprise endorsement of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump did.

“Boy, were we wrong,” McQuaid wrote in a follow-up editorial that was published Tuesday. “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. Rather than standing up to the bully, Christie bent his knee. In doing so, he rejected the very principles of his campaign that attracted our support.”

McQuaid continued: “Voters here apparently knew better than we. Most rejected Christie but divided their votes among several others, leaving Trump to claim victory. And now, despite specifically telling us that he would never endorse him, Christie is backing Trump. If nothing else, that might wake up some Trump fans. We will look for that, just as soon as we get the egg off our face.”

The stinging editorial extends a streak of humiliating turns for Christie.

On Saturday, after Christie introduced Trump at a campaign rally at an airport in Arkansas, the billionaire mogul could be heard on a hot mic telling the New Jersey governor to “go home,” pointing to a plane waiting for him on the tarmac.

On Sunday, Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman, who served as the national finance co-chairman for Christie’s failed presidential campaign, called his endorsement of Trump “an astonishing display of political opportunism.”

“Donald Trump is unfit to be president,” Whitman said in a statement. “He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey.

“Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly,” she continued. “The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter.”

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” the same day, Christie struggled to explain how he could support Donald Trump after criticizing his policies on the campaign trail.

“Chris Christie is now ruined,” the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote in an op-ed. “If it had not been obvious to him before this weekend, his political career is essentially over.”

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