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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

USA Today, one of the largest newspapers by circulation in America, gave Joe Biden its first-ever presidential endorsement on Tuesday.

The big picture: A slew of media companies are endorsing a candidate this year for the first time ever, citing the unprecedented nature of this election.

  • "This is not something we do lightly or do eagerly," said Bill Sternberg, head of USA Today's editorial board.

Between the lines: The newspaper posted a “dis-endorsement” of President Trump in 2016, but fell short of actually endorsing Hillary Clinton.

  • "In 2016, the conservative members of the editorial board could not stomach taking that one extra step and going so far as to endorse Hillary Clinton," said Sternberg.
  • "This time when it was a question of Joe Biden versus Donald Trump, there was a full consensus of the board not just to dis-endorse Donald Trump again, but to go that extra step and endorse Joe Biden, who is a less polarizing and less controversial figure than Hillary Clinton."

Details: In the endorsement, USA Today's editorial board says that it's endorsing Biden because Trump's character is ill-suited for the position.

  • "If this were a choice between two capable major party nominees who happened to have opposing ideas, we wouldn’t choose sides."
  • "Different voters have different concerns. But this is not a normal election, and these are not normal times."
  • "This year, character, competence and credibility are on the ballot. Given Trump’s refusal to guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, so, too, is the future of America's democracy."

What to watch: The company has a practice of including the opposing view to its opinion pieces, and so it included an editorial on Tuesday from Vice President Mike Pence, making a case for a second term for him and President Trump.

  • "There is no doubt that 2020 has been a time of unprecedented challenges," the editorial reads. "Thankfully, we have a president with the toughness, energy and resolve to en- sure that America’s best days still lie ahead. A vote to reelect President Trump is a vote for a safer, stronger and more prosperous America."

The election has triggered many news companies to endorse a candidate for the first time in their history. This is especially true for science and medical outlets.

  • Scientific American backed Biden in first endorsement in its 175-year history.
  • Lancet Oncology backed Biden in first endorsement in its 20-year history.
  • New England Journal of Medicine, for the first time in its 208-year-old history, came the closest it's ever come to giving an endorsement but publishing a scathing rebuke of the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.
  • Nature endorsed Joe Biden last week.

Some local newspapers and niche sites are also endorsing Biden for the first time ever.

  • El Nuevo Día, the largest-circulated Puerto Rican newspaper, endorsed Biden in the first endorsement of its 50-year history.
  • A few other smaller entities, like Surfer, have also made first-time presidential endorsements this year for Biden.

The bottom line: Trump won in 2016 despite getting fewer endorsements than any other major presidential candidate in history, The Hill notes.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

Pennsylvania certifies Biden's victory

Photo: Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pennsylvania officials on Tuesday certified the state's presidential election results, making President-elect Joe Biden's win in the key battleground official.

Why it matters: The move deals another blow to President Trump's failed efforts to block certification in key swing states that he lost to Biden. It also comes one day after officials voted to certify Biden's victory in Michigan.

Paul Ryan calls on Trump to concede race and end lawsuits

Paul Ryan and Joe Biden after the vice presidential debate in 2012. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) on Tuesday called on President Trump to concede the election to President-elect Biden and "embrace the transfer of power," in an address at a financial conference first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: Trump has continued to deny that he lost the election, despite his administration granting so-called "ascertainment" on Monday, allowing the transition to formally begin.

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