For Donald Trump, one media feud is winding down — and an old one is heating up.
At a campaign event on Friday in Nashua, New Hampshire, Trump defended his decision to skip the previous evening’s Republican debate on Fox News. But the GOP frontrunner expressed no ill will toward the conservative cable news channel he had spent days criticizing.
Instead, Trump directed his ire toward a familiar target: Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid.
“You know, I don’t know how you feel about this, but I have to do it. So, you have a newspaper up here, ‘The Union Leader,'” Trump said, drawing boos from the crowd. “Do you know about this newspaper?”
“This guy’s a bad guy. His name is Joe McQuaid,” he continued. “He’s a bad person, and he uses his weight, pushes his weight around, thinks he’s hot stuff.”
Those were among the tamer insults. Over the course of a nearly 10-minute diatribe, Trump called McQuaid “a psycho,” “loser,” “liar” and “dirty dog.”
The Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, “is going to be dead soon,” Trump said.
“He’s destroyed the paper,” Trump said of McQuaid.
Trump has spent the last month assailing McQuaid on Twitter and in interviews. McQuaid has responded with editorials calling Trump a “con man” and “a schoolyard, rich-kid bully.”
Trump called those editorials “vicious,” and accused McQuaid of misquoting him.
“He makes up quotes. He puts a quote where I’m saying, ‘look at these yokels,'” Trump said Friday. “I don’t even know what the word yokel is.”
McQuaid used that phrase in an editorial earlier this week.
“Is there a lawyer in the house?” Trump said in Nashua. “Why don’t we sue this dope?”
It wasn’t always this way. As recently as 2014, Trump spoke warmly of McQuaid, even calling him a friend.
Trump soured on McQuaid after the Union Leader endorsed Chris Christie in November. When ABC dropped the Union Leader as a partner in an upcoming debate, Trump celebrated and took credit.
On Friday, Trump said he probably would have landed the endorsement if he had participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Union Leader in August, and if he had bought advertising from the paper.
“So he’s asking for ads all the time,” Trump said of McQuaid. “He asked me do his stupid debate.”
In an editorial earlier this month, McQuaid wrote that Trump bought four full-page ads from the paper because he “apparently thought it might help him get the Union Leader’s endorsement.”
McQuaid doesn’t seem to be losing sleep over Trump’s hostility.
“It may be Mr. Trump who has some psychological issues,” McQuaid told CNNMoney in an email. “He seems to be obsessive-compulsive when it comes to Megyn Kelly of Fox. I’m happy to join her on the list!”
McQuaid challenged the accuracy of Trump’s claims and ended his email with a quip: “Fun, ain’t it?”
Trumped wrapped up his rant about McQuaid with a few more insults.
“When we have a dirty dog like that, who’s no good, who’s a failure — his paper will be closed within the next year or two, OK? — now when we have a dirty dog like that, at least I have a microphone where I can speak back,” Trump said.
Trump appeared to have no interest in hitting back at Fox News, though he stood by his decision to forgo the channel’s debate.
“You know, I have a very good relationship with Fox, but when somebody doesn’t treat you properly, you got to be tough, you got to be strong, you can’t let them push you around,” he said.