The Slatest

ABC Disavows New Hampshire Debate Co-Sponsor After Trump Complaints

ABC’s Democratic presidential debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Dec. 19, 2015.

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The New Hampshire Union Leader is the largest newspaper in New Hampshire and as such plays a major role in presidential primary politics. During this cycle, the paper (which endorses Chris Christie) has come out strongly against Donald Trump, condemning his candidacy in a front-page editorial—which predictably triggered a response from Trump, who called the Union Leader’s publisher a “lowlife.” The newspaper also co-sponsored a Dec. 19 Democratic debate in New Hampshire on ABC and was set to do the same for the network’s Feb. 6 Republican debate. (The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9.) But now ABC has dropped the Union Leader as a sponsor—and Trump is claiming it’s because he demanded it. From Politico:

ABC is cutting off their partnership with the New Hampshire Union Leader for the Republican primary debate on Feb. 6, an ABC spokesperson has confirmed.

The paper was set to have a co-branding relationship for the debate, though it was going to be a comparatively minor role, without any representative on stage asking questions on behalf of the newspaper.


(ABC wouldn’t confirm that the change was made at Trump’s behest.)

Trump has threatened to boycott two previous debates—CNBC’s over the format of the event and CNN’s because the network doesn’t “treat [him] properly”—but ended up participating in both. (CNBC agreed to Trump’s terms.) He is leading New Hampshire polls by approximately 18 points.