Newspapers retract Christie endorsements

GOP 2016 Trump
Gov. Christie introduces Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign stop at the Signature Flight Hangar at Port-Columbus International Airport, Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio.

Backlash over Gov. Christie's endorsement of Donald Trump continued to roll in Tuesday, with two newspapers that had backed the New Jersey governor's presidential bid expressing regret in editorials.

"Boy, were we wrong," wrote Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, in a Page One editorial 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," McQuaid wrote. "Rather than standing up to the bully, Christie bent his knee."

The newspaper's conservative editorial staff had previously fended off criticism of its endorsement of Christie from the editorial page editor of the Newark Star-Ledger, dismissing the New Jersey paper - which endorsed Christie in 2013, then expressed regret - as the governor's "crazy ex-girlfriend."

Christie dropped out of the race after finishing a disappointing sixth in New Hampshire. "Voters here apparently knew better than we," McQuaid wrote Tuesday.

In an editorial titled "Buyer's Remorse," the Boston Herald also was critical of Christie's endorsement of Trump, asserting that Trump had sunk "to a new low" in failing during a television interview Sunday to disavow the white supremacist David Duke.

Of Christie, the Herald wrote: "Of course, there is no such thing as underestimating the political opportunism of those who seek higher office. But how dreadfully sad that Christie has now linked his own future to that of one of the most polarizing figures in American politics."

Six Gannett Co.-owned New Jersey newspapers, including the Camden Courier-Post and the Asbury Park Press, issued a joint editorial Tuesday calling on Christie to resign, listing the governor's endorsement of Trump among their grievances.

"We're disgusted with his endorsement of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign trail trashing him," the editorial read. It also cited Christie's frequent out-of-state travel and a news conference Monday in Trenton in which he restricted questions to the topic of a state Supreme Court nomination.

Separate from the editorials, columnist Michael Gerson - who was President George W. Bush's speechwriter - wrote in the Washington Post on Tuesday that it was "humiliating for the governor of a great state to make himself the subordinate of - the junior partner to - a cut-rate Mussolini."

In a radio interview on New Jersey 101.5 Monday night, Christie acknowledged receiving angry phone calls over the endorsement but said criticisms from some supporters were simply the result of "a political disagreement."

"I'm a big boy, and I defended myself," he said.

Christie, who endorsed Trump on Friday, went back on the campaign trail with the billionaire businessman Tuesday, introducing Trump at a rally in Columbus, Ohio.

"The Democrats have failed us, and Donald J. Trump will help America get great again," Christie said after he and his former rival descended together from the Trump plane at Port Columbus International Airport, waving to the crowd.

"His desperate opponents will say and do anything to try to tear him down, but you know the truth," Christie said. "The strong leader in this race is Donald J. Trump."

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