Top Political Reporter at New York Paper Quits After Trump Endorsement

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP

Ross Barkan, the national political reporter at the New York Observer, quit Wednesday after the paper’s editorial board endorsed Donald Trump for president.

Barkan, who has worked for the publication since 2013, announced his plan to leave later this month on Twitter one day after the paper published an editorial recommending that New York voters support the business mogul in the April 19 primary.

"Personal news: I’m announcing today that my last day at the New York Observer will be April 27th," Barkan wrote. "I’m grateful for the three years I’ve spent at NYO, and all the experiences I’ve had along the way. Most grateful to our readers."

Jared Kushner, a real estate investor who is also Trump’s son-in-law, owns the New York Observer. Kushner is an unofficial adviser to Trump and has contributed over $100,000 to Democratic campaigns and committees, the Free Beacon previously reported. The editorial board wrote Tuesday that the endorsement was not a result of Trump being related by marriage to the paper’s owner.

Barkan told Politico that the publication’s relationship with Trump played a role in his decision to leave.

"[The endorsement] played a factor," Barkan said. "It was a decision I’ve been wrestling with for more than a day and more than a week. I didn’t expect [the endorsement] was coming. It blindsided me."

Barkan was also bothered by the Observer editor-in-chief’s decision to assist Kushner in writing Trump’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which he delivered last month.

"The AIPAC situation was very troubling. Anyone knows that an editor-in-chief should not be reviewing the speech of a presidential candidate. I don’t care if it’s Trump or Bernie Sanders," Barkan said. "Given what happened with AIPAC and given some of the other issues there, I felt it was time to go."

Barkan has not yet found another job.

In the editorial published Tuesday, the Observer celebrated Trump for his "optimism" and leadership in the private sector.

"The media tried very hard to construct excuses and rationales for his success. Mr. Trump was a celebrity, an entertainer; he knew how to play the media and gain its attention; his policies grabbed headlines but lacked the specificity of his rivals—which gave him an unfair advantage," the editorial board wrote.

"But what every pundit’s platitudes missed was simple: they failed to recognize that Mr. Trump’s success is the result of one thing—optimism. Mr. Trump was tapping into the pent-up desire of millions of voters to make America great again."

"Throughout his career, Donald Trump has demonstrated real leadership. And he has done so in the private sector where people’s livelihoods depended on his vision, his decisions and his ability to get others to embrace that vision and act in concert," the editorial continued.

Trump has come under fire for his controversial statements about Mexicans, Muslims, women, and others. He has also been scrutinized for some of his business ventures, including Trump University, which is currently the subject of a class-action fraud lawsuit.