Orlando Sentinel declines to endorse Trump in 2020

Orlando, Fla.'s largest newspaper, which traditionally backs Republican presidential candidates, gave a sweeping endorsement of anybody but President Trump ahead of his reelection campaign launch in the city.

The Orlando Sentinel published an editorial Tuesday condemning Trump's presidency ahead of his 2020 campaign launch in the city later in the day. And while the editorial admits some may find it difficult to eliminate a candidate before identifying an opponent, the paper wrote "there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump."

"After 2 1/2 years we've seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies," they wrote. 

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The paper said it has a history of endorsing Republican candidates dating back to 1952 with a few exceptions, including backing Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in 1964 and John KerryJohn Forbes KerryHe who must not be named: How Hunter Biden became a conversation-stopper Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid Green groups line up behind Markey ahead of looming Kennedy fight MORE over President George W. Bush's reelection.

As recently as 2012, the Sentinel endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable Cindy McCain condemns video of fake Trump shooting political opponents, late husband GOP braces for impeachment brawl MORE (R), now a senator from Utah, over President Obama. It endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSaagar Enjeti: Tuesday's Democratic debate already 'rigged' against Gabbard, Sanders Ilhan Omar raises .1 million in third quarter Bloomberg rethinking running for president: report MORE over Trump in 2016, however.

"The nation must endure another 1 1/2 years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that," the Orlando Sentinel writes.

The non-endorsement isn't "defaulting to whomever the Democrats choose," the paper clarified. The Orlando Sentinel would be willing to consider an "unlikely" Republican challenger or an independent with a "legitimate campaign."

"We’d even consider backing Trump if, say, he found the proverbial cure for cancer or — about as likely — changed the essence of who he is (he won’t)," it wrote. 

The editorial calls out the president's lies, citing a Washington Post database that reports more than 10,000 Trump's told since taking office.  

It also highlighted the president's actions they say "diminished our standing in the world," as well as his failure to move on his own agenda. 

"Domestically, the president’s signature issue — immigration — has moved in fits and starts," the editorial says, noting Trump's "unconstitutional" travel ban on people from several majority-Muslim countries and family separations at the border. 

"For all of that, illegal border crossings are, as the president himself calls it, at crisis levels," it continues. 

The paper also chided Trump's tendency to blame Democrats despite his party having control of Congress for the first two years of his term. 

Notwithstanding the issues the Orlando Sentinel lays out, the editorial admits Trump's "base remains loyal." His base appears strong throughout the Orlando area, with crowds lining up to see the president ahead of his Tuesday evening rally.

Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, narrowly won Orlando in 2016, with neighboring precincts swinging to Trump. Florida was a key state in Trump clinching the presidency. 

Trump himself boasted of the expected large crowds, and local news outlets reported Monday voters started lining up early Monday morning.

Trump will take the stage to announce his reelection at 8 p.m. at the Amway Center. 

--This report was updated at 10:59 a.m.