Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has won the endorsements and fandom of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, former heavyweight boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson, Ann Coulter, leading conspiracy obsessive Alex Jones, a “pro-rape” blogger, and a porn star called Dick Chibbles.
More recently, Trump has earned the endorsement of the National Enquirer, one of America’s most ubiquitous supermarket tabloids on celebrity gossip and scandal.
“TRUMP MUST BE PREZ!” the endorsement reads on the cover of this week’s issue (which you can pick up for an easy $4.99). “INSIDE: VOTE FOR HIS VICE PRESIDENT!”
Your options are Palin, Christie, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Ted Cruz, and Rudy Giuliani. You can vote by using your smartphone to text in your answer. The full endorsement (which quotes a Daily Beast article explaining why delegate math makes Trump nearly unbeatable in the 2016 GOP field) includes a list of “10 reasons The Donald is the ONLY choice for the White House.”
“Nobody understands the economy better than this self-made billionaire, and only he is willing and able to fix it,” according to one of the reasons.
“He will chase down illegal immigrants and toss out the criminals who came streaming through our open borders,” another reads. (In a “WORLD EXCLUSIVE” published in December, the Enquirer “proves” that terrorists can cross the Mexican border by having its reporter dress like a stereotypical jihadist and then waltz over into Texas.)
“Only Trump has the guts to stand up to foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin—and gain their respect!” the Enquirer concludes.
Along with conservative website Breitbart, the Enquirer often reads like a political ally of Team Trump. And if it sounds like that endorsement was authored by Trump’s friends, that is because, well, it sort of was.
In 2013, Trump repeatedly tweeted support for David Pecker—the CEO of American Media, Inc., which publishes the Enquirer—to be named the new CEO of Time magazine.
The tabloid has provided glowing coverage of Trump before and during this campaign. In early 2015, it excitedly reported on the “secret meetings” he was holding on launching a White House run, and his early poll numbers. In January, “America’s most popular presidential candidate” gave a two-part interview on the “most intimate details of [his] amazing life!”
Trump became a National Enquirer contributor in August, writing an op-ed on his greatness. (It would not be the last time the Enquirer would bear his byline.)
“I am the only one who can make America great again!” Trump penned. “And, on a personal note, my wife, Melania, would make a terrific first lady!”
It doesn’t hurt that Pecker and Trump have supposedly been good friends for years. “They’re very close,” a source close to the Enquirer told New York magazine in October. The insider also told New York that the Trump campaign was allegedly the source for a negative Enquirer cover story on rival candidate Ben Carson, headlined, “Bungling Surgeon Ben Carson Left Sponge in Patient’s Brain!” (Both the Trump campaign and Pecker flatly denied the allegation.)
Meanwhile, Trump’s other political enemies, such as Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz (called “Boozin’ Ted” by the tabloid), and Jeb Bush have been absolutely savaged in the pages of the Enquirer. The supermarket tabloid reported that Bush, as governor of Florida, was embroiled in “sleazy cheating scandals…[with a] Playboy Bunny turned lawyer,” a rumor Bush had publicly denied over a decade ago.
“Trump is a big friend of Pecker,” a source told the Daily News, stating that the billionaire reality TV star is “protected” by the Enquirer. “So no John Edwards-type investigations … Some of the staff are furious. Trump’s such fertile ground, and it drives them crazy to not only be staying away from it, but running puff pieces for him.” (Edwards isn’t the only former presidential candidate whom Enquirer staffers have exposed in actual sex scandals — Bob Dole and Jesse Jackson have also fallen prey.)
When asked for comment and whether the endorsement had anything to do with Pecker and Trump’s friendship, the National Enquirer sent along the following statement trumpeting its “unvarnished look” at Trump and other presidential contenders.
"There have been few presidential candidates in recent history that have generated the kind of discussion that Donald Trump has,” Pecker told The Daily Beast. “It's no surprise that the readership of the Enquirer recently told us that they wanted to read more about Trump than any other 2016 candidate. The coverage of the Enquirer reflects what its 6 million readers want, and expect, from the publication which has shown no hesitation in presenting an unvarnished look at past or current candidates for president."
The unvarnished look at, say, Rubio has consisted of the Florida senator’s alleged past attendance at “gay [foam] parties” (the “Rubio is gay!” conspiracy theory is emerging as the next big meme within certain pro-Trump and far-right communities), and a story on “NERDY” Marco Rubio’s “SEX & DRUG SECRETS.” The latter ran directly to the right of the publication’s recent endorsement of The Donald (pictured above).
The same issue, dated March 14, 2016, also includes supposedly bombshell pieces on the Illuminati taking control of Hollywood as it seeks to erect a “totalitarian world government,” Dr. Phil’s “REIGN OF TERROR,” and Faye Dunaway and plastic surgery.
Trump campaign did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on the tabloid or the new endorsement.