Ex-Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil faces US backlash over Iowa comment

Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil faced a backlash online from US political commentators for a remark made about the results of the Iowa caucuses.

As predicted, Donald Trump stormed to victory in the event, the first major contest of the year on Monday. Ron DeSantis squeaked to a close second place ahead of Nikki Haley.

The now trio – following the departures of Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson from the race – will now face voters in New Hampshire next week.

Neil, a veteran British broadcaster and editor of London’s Sunday Times from 1983 to 1994, wrote on X/Twitter: “US commentators slow to realise that Haley and DeSantis being effectively neck and neck for second place in Iowa is good news for Trump.

“Means neither heads to New Hampshire, where things will be tougher for Trump, with clear momentum.”

His remarks prompted a quick response from US political reporters and columnists, including The Independent’s Eric Garcia, who wrote: “American who writes for a British newspaper here: We all knew that, dude.

“Furthermore, Haley criminally underperforming blunts her momentum going into New Hampshire when she was starting to pick up *some* steam (but clearly not enough).”

Neil responded: “Yet so few of you have been making it, online or on air, Mr Dude.”

Andrew Neil edited London’s Sunday Times for much of the Reagan and Thatcher eras (PA Archive)
Andrew Neil edited London’s Sunday Times for much of the Reagan and Thatcher eras (PA Archive)

Jonathan Martin, senior columnist for Politico, also responded to Neil’s tweet, writing: “We realise it!”, while former CNN commentator Chris Cizzilla wrote: “We get that!”

Former president Trump soared to victory in the Iowa caucuses, with a projected 51 per cent of the Republican vote.

The Associated Press and news networks called the race shortly after 8.30pm local time, while many counties were still in the midst of caucus meetings.

In an article written for The Daily Mail, Neil argued that Mr Trump’s “runaway victory” meant that the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination “has pretty much ended on the day it began”.

“The scale of Trump’s triumph is historic. Just about everything went right for him,” he wrote, adding: “Whether it’s right for America and the rest of the world is another matter.”