CHICAGO (WLS) --The Chicago Tribune announced Friday its endorsement of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president of the United States.
The Tribune said neither Republican candidate Donald Trump nor Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are a good option.
The Republican-leaning newspaper endorsed two former Republicans running as libertarians. In their editorial the board urged readers to cast a vote for Johnson on principle.
The Tribune's Editorial Director John McCormick said Johnson and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor William Weld are protest choices because the newspaper cannot support either major party candidate.
"It's a way to say to the parties, we're disappointed in the way you went about this," McCormick said.
McCormick called the endorsement "unorthodox" and a "protest" against Trump, who he said is too far right on the issues, and against Clinton, who he said is too far left.
"These are the candidates I think, Charles, for all those people who say I'm socially liberal but when it comes to government spending I'm kind of on the conservative side. These are the candidates for that," McCormick said.
Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who supports Clinton, hit back against the endorsement.
"To think that they're encouraging people to waste their votes on a third party candidate who can't win is simply going to help Donald Trump," Durbin said.
The Republican-leaning Tribune endorsed Chicagoan Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The Tribune's endorsement did not mention Johnson's "Aleppo moment" when he did not know anything about the city in Syria in a huge humanitarian crisis. It also did not mention another recent gaffe when he could not remember the name of former Mexican president Vicente Fox.
"The way Johnson handled his Aleppo moment was to immediately put out a statement saying 'Boy, did I screw that up.' I'm still waiting for either of the other two candiadtes to say 'boy, did I screw that up,' about almost anything," McCormick said.
The Chicago Sun-Times endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Friday afternoon, referring to Donald Trump as a "train wreck" and saying Johnson "could not even pass a basic world geography test."
The Sun-Times also jabbed its crosstown rival, indirectly calling the Tribune's support for Johnson "a cop-out that cuts in Trump's favor."
The Tribune has endorsed third party candidates before, including Abraham Lincoln just as the Republican Party was formed, Horace Greeley before he was joined by the Democrats and Theodore Roosevelt.