As the editorial board explains, USA Today, in its 34-year history, has “never taken sides in the presidential race,” choosing to save its opinions for the issues, rather than the people, involved in the race. And before this election, it worked for them. “We revisit our no-endorsement policy every four years. We’ve never seen reason to alter our approach. Until now,” writes the board.
For the board, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is no choice. “This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.”
USA Today goes on to list and explain eight metrics that highlight the specific ways in which Trump is unfit, including such classics as the fact that he’s a “serial liar,” “speaks recklessly,” “isn’t leveling with the American people” and “traffics in prejudice.”
In an accompanying video, editorial page editor Bill Sternberg explains to media reporter Roger Yu how the board came to its decision. “We watched Trump, through the Republican primaries, through the GOP Convention and through Monday’s first presidential debate, and we became increasingly concerned. The unanimous consent of the board is that he lacks the temperament, the knowledge, maturity, steadiness that America needs in its president,” he said. It was a sentiment echoed within the editorial.
Operations editor Thuan Le Elston, also a member of the board, gave Yu context for that unanimity. “We are not only an ethnically diverse board, we are politically diverse. We have conservative, liberal, libertarian and progressive members on the board,” she said. And they all agreed.
In a separate post, the board further explained its position, closing with a contemplation on what USA Today founder Al Neuharth would have thought of the decision:
Neuharth, who died in 2013, was a champion of diversity, a defender of First Amendment freedoms and an optimist about America’s future. In a 2012 column, he described Trump as “a clown who loves doing or saying things” to get attention, “no matter how ridiculous.”
Sounds like Al was on to something.