Joe McQuaid, the esteemed publisher of the Union Leader in Manchester, New Hampshire, is recognized as a key conservative figure in the state, often influencing political tides. His newspaper’s endorsement is highly sought after, particularly in the context of the Republican primaries. However, it seems increasingly unlikely that this influential endorsement will be given to former President Donald Trump in the upcoming election cycle.
In an insightful interview with Politico, McQuaid offered his candid views on the forthcoming New Hampshire presidential primary, which is set to take place on Tuesday. His remarks were particularly pointed regarding Trump’s 2024 Republican nomination bid and his pervasive influence over the Republican Party.
McQuaid did not hold back in his critique, stating unequivocally, “He has no business being president of the United States.” He further elaborated on his concerns about Trump, describing him as a “dangerous man” with a significant following of sycophants and a political party that seems to feel compelled to speak positively of him for fear of electoral repercussions.
The history between Trump and McQuaid dates back to 2015, illustrating the former president’s concerted efforts to secure the Union Leader’s backing. Trump made a strategic visit to New Hampshire to address the well-known “Politics & Eggs” event.
According to McQuaid, Neil Levesque, the director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics who organized this event, mentioned that Trump specifically requested McQuaid’s presence during his speech. Additionally, McQuaid hosted Trump at Manchester’s municipal golf club, where Trump indulged in a meal that included a cheeseburger and fries, a detail McQuaid recalls vividly.
Despite these overtures, the Union Leader chose not to endorse Trump in the 2016 primaries. Instead, the newspaper supported then-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who eventually finished in 6th place in the primaries. Trump, nonetheless, secured a significant victory in New Hampshire, achieving more than double the votes of his closest competitor, Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Trump’s reaction to not receiving the Union Leader’s endorsement was sharp and critical. He openly lambasted both McQuaid and the newspaper, referring to McQuaid as “a real lowlife” and disparaging the Union Leader as “a piece of garbage.”
As the political landscape evolves leading up to the 2024 presidential election, speculation is rife about who the Union Leader will endorse. Indications suggest that McQuaid’s publication may throw its support behind former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Haley has not only garnered the backing of New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu but is also viewed favorably by McQuaid.
He opined to Politico that Haley represents the Republican Party’s best chance for a November victory, boldly stating, “Haley would clean the floor with [President Joe] Biden.” This development signifies a potentially pivotal moment in the Republican primaries, reflecting both the evolving dynamics within the party and the significant influence wielded by regional newspapers like the Union Leader in shaping political narratives and outcomes.