For the first time in 34 years, USA Today broke precedent and weighed in on the presidential race: "This year, one of the candidates––Republican nominee Donald Trump––is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency."
The Editorial Board stressed that it has "expressed opinions about the major issues" and that it hasn't "presumed to tell [our] readers, who have a variety of priorities and values, which choice is best for them... Until now."
But it was quick to point out that its anti-Trump editorial does not represent "unqualified support for Hillary Clinton, who has her own flaws (though hers are far less likely to threaten national security or lead to a constitutional crisis)." The Editorial Board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement."
"Some of us look at her command of the issues, resilience and long record of public service––as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State––and believe she’d serve the nation ably as its president," the editorial continues. "Other board members have serious reservations about Clinton’s sense of entitlement, her lack of candor and her extreme carelessness in handling classified information."
"Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue," it concludes. "By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump."
Donald Trump, the Editorial Board continued, "has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents."
The Board then proceeded to "spell out" a litany of reasons why Trump should not be president which included, but are not limited to:
His "erratic" political opinions:
Trump has been on so many sides of so many issues that attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target. A list prepared by NBC details 124 shifts by Trump on 20 major issues since shortly before he entered the race. He simply spouts slogans and outcomes (he’d replace Obamacare with “something terrific”) without any credible explanations of how he’d achieve them.
His questionable business record:
Trump has built his candidacy on his achievements as a real estate developer and entrepreneur. It’s a shaky scaffold, starting with a 1973 Justice Department suit against Trump and his father for systematically discriminating against blacks in housing rentals. (The Trumps fought the suit but later settled on terms that were viewed as a government victory.) Trump’s companies have had some spectacular financial successes, but this track record is marred by six bankruptcy filings, apparent misuse of the family’s charitable foundation, and allegations by Trump University customers of fraud. A series of investigative articles published by the USA TODAY Network found that Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits over the past three decades, including at least 60 that involved small businesses and contract employees who said they were stiffed. So much for being a champion of the little guy.
His penchant for making "reckless" statements:
In the days after the Republican convention, Trump invited Russian hackers to interfere with an American election by releasing Hillary Clinton’s emails, and he raised the prospect of “Second Amendment people” preventing the Democratic nominee from appointing liberal justices. It’s hard to imagine two more irresponsible statements from one presidential candidate.
And the way his behavior has "coarsened the national dialogue:"
Did you ever imagine that a presidential candidate would discuss the size of his genitalia during a nationally televised Republican debate? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine a presidential candidate, one who avoided service in the military, would criticize Gold Star parents who lost a son in Iraq? Neither did we. Did you ever imagine you’d see a presidential candidate mock a disabled reporter? Neither did we. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to ignore criticism raises the specter of a president who, like Richard Nixon, would create enemies’ lists and be consumed with getting even with his critics.
The Editorial Board also criticized Trump's incendiary campaign tactics,
which they believe have inflamed racial hostilities across the nation. From the very beginning, Trump has built his campaign on appeals to bigotry and xenophobia, whipping up resentment against Mexicans, Muslims and migrants," they wrote. "His proposals for mass deportations and religious tests are unworkable and contrary to America’s ideals."
And on the matter of Trump's honesty, they were similarly scathing: "Although polls show that Clinton is considered less honest and trustworthy than Trump, it’s not even a close contest. Trump is in a league of his own when it comes to the quality and quantity of his misstatements." Earlier this week, four news organizations independently measured how often Trump lies. All four came to the same conclusion: Donald Trump lies more often than Hillary Clinton. According to Politico, which analyzed every statement made by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton over a five-day span, "Trump averaged about one falsehood every three minutes and 15 seconds over nearly five hours of remarks. In raw numbers, that’s 87 erroneous statements in five days." (By contrast, Politico‘s analysis of Hillary Clinton found that her “relationship to the truth is solid,” even if she mischaracterizes herself. Their five-day study suggests that in just over 90 minutes of remarks over the last week, she averaged “one falsehood every 12 minutes.”)
Though USA Today's support for Clinton was not unequivocal, its editorial continues the streak of good news for her campaign after a strong performance at Monday night’s presidential debate. Clinton capped off the week with two unprecedented endorsements: The Arizona Republic, a stalwartly conservative paper, and former Virginia Senator John Warner, a revered figure within the GOP, threw their support behind the former Secretary of State.
The Arizona Republic's endorsement––the first time it has supported a Democratic candidate in 126 years––has sparked considerable outrage. Phil Boas, the Republic's editorial director, says the newspaper has received death threats and seen scores of subscription cancellations since its endorsement. "Well it's been crazy around here," Boas said. "We're getting a lot of reaction both locally and national. I don't believe true readers of the editorial page are surprised by this at all, because over the past year we have been writing scathing, scalding articles about Donald Trump."
"The things he has done," he continued, "making fun of disabled people and rolling back press freedoms. You know a guy who would do that and crush our freedoms in one area will do it in others as well."