New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has been one of the GOP’s most consistent critics of Donald Trump – which may have something to do with the way Sununu has maintained support in a state that consistently votes blue in presidential elections.
Regardless, The New York Times sat down with Sununu after the second GOP debate. Here’s what he had to say.
Sununu was asked whether he found any of the candidates on stage impressive.
“I think they were all very chippy,” Sununu said. “Tim Scott and Doug Burgum really knew that they had to push their way into the conversation, knowing that they had kind of gotten boxed out a little bit the first time. DeSantis did what he had to do, similar with the first one. Nikki Haley did a couple things. She showed she wasn’t a flash in the pan. I think she effectively won the first debate in that she showed them fire, she showed a good knowledge base. In the second debate, she didn’t disappoint either. I think she showed some grit and some fortitude…She just seems very astute about everybody else’s record. And I think that does her very, very well in those debates.”
Haley, who formerly served as Governor of South Carolina and as Trump’s ambassador to the UN, is polling in the single digits – within striking range of DeSantis and Ramaswamy, who are polling second and third respectively, but along with the rest of the field, desperately far behind Trump who is polling in excess of 50 percent.
“The other thing is that they finally started pulling at Donald Trump a little bit, in terms of his record,” Sununu said. “Again, Trump had some good ideas and good policies, but he couldn’t really execute on them. And again, showing that differentiation between someone who can actually execute on the policy, as opposed to someone who disagrees with the policy is a very important thing.”
Competing with Donald Trump
Can anyone beat Donald Trump, who is dominating the GOP primary and is fully expected to win his third consecutive nomination?
“[Trump] does have this extremely strong base of populist Republican support. Folks that just will stand behind him no matter what, no matter all his faults. And we’ve seen that since 2016, right?” Sununu said. “In a recent poll, he was pulling in about 39 percent in New Hampshire. Which is actually really bad, by the way, I mean, he’s the former president, the voice of the GOP for six years. Even with his base voters, he can’t get above 40 percent? And then the second part of that same poll is very interesting. About a third of his supports would consider somebody else. So they’re not even that rock solid.”
Sununu had more criticisms for Trump.
“Trump speaks in hyperbole. He’s outrageous. And sometimes his hyperbole, he believes it. When Trump says these outrageous things, they don’t go, “Oh my God, I can’t believe he said that.” Nobody says that about Donald Trump anymore, right? They just take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt because he’s looking for the headline. He knows how to work the media and work the headlines. And that’s always been his M.O.,” Sununu said.
Well, Trump’s M.O. has been working. And the fracture Republican field is running out of time to stop the former president.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
From the Vault