WINDHAM, N.H. (AP) — Donald Trump continued his war of words with New Hampshire's largest newspaper Monday, a day after he claimed credit for ABC's decision to drop the paper as a co-sponsor of its upcoming Republican primary debate.
Trump's campaign and the Union Leader have been engaged in a mudslinging contest since the paper's publisher, Joseph McQuaid, wrote a series of front-page editorials criticizing Trump. In one, McQuaid called Trump a "crude blowhard." Trump, in turn, said the paper is failing and that McQuaid begged him to buy advertising space. At a campaign rally Monday, he read from an advertising letter sent to his campaign from the paper.
"Does anybody want the back cover of a newspaper that's lost all credibility?" Trump asked the crowd.
ABC is hosting a GOP debate in New Hampshire on Feb. 6. The network cited the ongoing feud between the Union Leader and Trump, as well as the paper's endorsement of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as reasons for severing the partnership.
Local television station WMUR will serve as a co-host of the debate. The Democratic National Committee dropped the station from ABC's Democratic debate late last year over an on-going union dispute.
Trump quickly claimed credit for the network's decision to drop the Union Leader on Twitter. The Union Leader, meanwhile, quoted McQuaid as calling ABC "spineless."
Trump has used his celebrity status and lead in many GOP polls to enforce control over the outlets that cover him. He has changed the paradigm for television news interviews, often calling in by telephone from home instead of traveling to studios to appear live. He has also blocked outlets he doesn't like from covering his events.
In October, he and rival Ben Carson bypassed the Republican National Committee and threatened to boycott the CNBC debate if the network didn't abide by their demands, which included capping the debate at two hours, including commercials. Trump has repeatedly claimed victory, saying the network caved as soon as he intervened.