USA TODAY made headlines of their own Friday after endorsing a Presidential candidate for the first time since the paper was founded in 1982, and they’re partially crediting it to a South Dakota native.
“In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race,” the editorial board wrote Friday. “We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now.”
Their editorial board decided Trump was “unfit for the presidency.”
Trump reacted in a Tweet Friday morning:
The people are really smart in cancelling subscriptions to the Dallas & Arizona papers & now USA Today will lose readers! The people get it! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2016
Later Friday, the paper’s editorial board released more details about the reason for not endorsing any candidate in the past.
They also said they look to their founder, South Dakota-native Al Neuharth.
“In breaking with tradition this year, we asked ourselves what Al Neuharth, who founded USA TODAY in 1982, would have done,” the editorial board said.
They pointed to a column Neuharth wrote in 2012 about Trump.
Neuharth, who was born in Eureka, SD, founded the leading newspaper in the country in 1984. He’s also a graduate of the University of South Dakota and has a building on campus in his namesake.
Neuharth died in 2013. He’s buried in South Dakota.
“Like Donald Trump, Neuharth had a big ego. (Trump’s best-known book is “The Art of the Deal”; Neuharth’s was “Confessions of an S.O.B.”) But Neuharth, who died in 2013, was a champion of diversity, a defender of First Amendment freedoms and an optimist about America’s future,” said USA TODAY’s Editorial Board.
Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence responded to USA TODAY in a separate column.
“On one hand, we have a candidate in Hillary Clinton who represents all that is wrong with the status quo in Washington,” Pence said. “On the other, Donald Trump has the courage to speak his mind and the boldness to make true his vision of a renewed America.”