Orlando Sentinel endorses 'not Donald Trump' for president ahead of reelection kickoff

Hours before President Trump was due to hold a rally in Orlando billed as the kickoff to his reelection campaign, the Orlando Sentinel announced who it is endorsing for president in 2020: not Donald Trump.

“Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent,” the paper said in a scathing editorial on Tuesday. “Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.”

The Sentinel has mostly endorsed Republicans since 1960, but in recent years it has been more independent, backing Democrats in 2004 (John Kerry over George W. Bush), 2008 (Barack Obama over John McCain) and 2016 (Hillary Clinton over Trump). It endorsed Republican Mitt Romney over Obama in 2012.

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President Trump's rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana
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President Trump's rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana
President Donald Trump greets his daughter Ivanka Trump at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders listen as White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Supporters wait for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
President Donald Trump greets former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
A man in a Make America Great Again hat listens as US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks at a campaign rally featuring President Donald Trump at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump greets Senate candidate Mike Braun at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway listen as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump listens as his daughter Ivanka Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders listen to a speech at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Signs are shown during a campaign rally featuring President Donald Trump at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
James Crockett, 10, holds a mask of President Donald Trump as another supporter holds a mask of first lady Melania Trump as President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind.. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Supporter cheer for President Donald Trump at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FORT WAYNE, IN - NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun at the County War Memorial Coliseum November 5, 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Braun is facing first-term Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in tomorrow's midterm election. Trump is campaigning nationwide in an effort to bolster GOP prospects. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
FORT WAYNE, IN - NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun at the County War Memorial Coliseum November 5, 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Braun is facing first-term Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in tomorrow's midterm election. Trump is campaigning nationwide in an effort to bolster GOP prospects. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) looks on as White House Press Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks and Kellyanne Conway cheers at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer as US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway looks on during a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
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But Trump’s erratic behavior and petulant, dishonest statements in office pushed the Sentinel to its non-endorsement.

“After 2 1/2 years we’ve seen enough,” the editorial board said. “Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.”

The Sentinel pointed to the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” a database that has documented more than 10,000 false or misleading claims made by Trump since he took office.

“There was a time when even a single lie — a phony college degree, a bogus work history — would doom a politician’s career,” the Sentinel said. “Not so for Trump, who claimed in 2017 that he lost the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally (they didn’t). In 2018 he said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat (it is). And in 2019 he said windmills cause cancer (they don’t). Just last week he claimed the media fabricated unfavorable results from his campaign’s internal polling (it didn’t).”

The editorial was published to coincide with Trump’s Tuesday night rally at Orlando’s Amway Center. On Monday night, hundreds of people began lining up outside the arena, which has a capacity of about 20,000.

Earlier Monday, Trump tweeted that there had been more than 100,000 ticket requests for the rally, which will also include first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence. He has held dozens of rallies around the country since his inauguration and filed paperwork for his reelection just hours after being sworn in.

Trump said there would be “large movie screens” and food trucks to accommodate those who do not make it inside.

On Tuesday, he complained that the media refuses to report that “Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high.”

“Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar),” Trump tweeted.

The president didn’t indicate which musician he was comparing his popularity to.

“Going to be wild,” he added. “See you later!”

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