The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed President Trump in the 2020 election — citing his economic accomplishments and handling of trade with China — marking the first time since 1972 that the newspaper has backed a Republican candidate for president.
The editorial, headlined “The man and the record,” said the president has “put America first” just as he promised to do in 2016.
“Under Donald Trump the economy, pre-COVID, boomed, like no time since the 1950s. Look at your 401(k) over the past three years,” the editorial board wrote on Saturday. “Unemployment for Black Americans is lower than it has ever been, under any president of either party.”
The editorial said Trump changed the debate in Republican and Democratic circles away from free trade to “managed, or fair, trade.”
“Under Mr. Trump, our trade relationships have vastly improved and our trade deals have been rewritten,” it said. “Thanks to him, middle America is on the map again and the Appalachian and hourly worker has some hope. … Has Mr. Trump done enough for these struggling fellow citizens? No. But he recognized them. Maybe he was not articulate, but he recognized their pain.”
The newspaper, the largest in western Pennsylvania by circulation and web traffic, faulted the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans.
“Has Mr. Trump handled the pandemic perfectly? No. But no one masters a pandemic. And the president was and is right that we must not cower before the disease and we have to keep America open and working,” the editorial said.
The Post-Gazette said a victory by Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris would create a “nanny state that will bow to the bullies” and questioned whether the 77-year-old former vice president would even be able to carry out the duties of a president.
“There is a very real chance he will not make it through the term. Mr. Trump is also too old but seemingly robust. But in Mike Pence, Mr. Trump has a vice president ready to take over, if need be. He is a safe pair of hands. Sen. Kamala Harris gives no evidence of being ready to be president,” the newspaper said.
The Post-Gazette, with its more than 174,000 daily readers, is highly influential in the counties around Pittsburgh that Trump won in 2016 on his way to carrying Pennsylvania.
Hillary Clinton won Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.
But Biden is leading the president in the Keystone State by 2.9 percentage points, according to an average of the polls by RealClear Politics.
The last Republican the Post Gazette endorsed for president was Richard Nixon when he won reelection in a landslide over Democrat George McGovern before being forced from office in the Watergate scandal.