Sununu defends decision to back Trump despite prior support for Haley

 April 15, 2024

During the initial stages of the GOP primary season earlier this year, former President Donald Trump faced a notable challenge from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who managed to secure some fairly high-profile endorsements along the way.

Now, however, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who initially backed Haley, has thrown his support to Trump, asserting that even a criminal conviction is unlikely to derail his hopes of another term in office, as Breitbart reports.

Sununu defends switch

The governor's about-face on Trump was made crystal clear on Sunday during an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulous.

Though the program host appeared determined to shame Sununu for throwing his weight behind Trump's campaign by pointing out the various controversies and criminal charges plaguing the former president, the governor stood firm in his position.

As Fox News noted, Stephanopoulous was aggressive in his questioning of Sununu regarding issues such as the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol unrest, stating, “Wait a second. Your words were very, very clear on January 11, 2021. You said [Trump's] rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection. No other president has contributed to an insurrection.”

“Please explain, given the fact you believe he contributed to an insurrection, how can you say we should have him back in the Oval Office,” the host inquired.

Sununu replied that while the events of that fateful day were profoundly regrettable, it is more important at this point to support “a Republican administration -- Republican secretaries, Republican rules, a sense where states' rights come first, individual rights come first, parents' rights come first.”

Potential conviction irrelevant

Not content to accept Sununu's explanation, Stephanopoulous raised the topic of Trump's criminal trials, one of which commenced in New York on Monday.

“Will your support for Donald Trump continue even if he's convicted in Manhattan?” the host asked.

Sununu was clear in his response, saying, “Yeah, look, this -- this trial is not going to have major political ramifications that a lot of people, I think, think it may have. And when it comes to these issues, people see it more as reality TV at this point.”

The governor emphasized his belief that the impact of Alvin Bragg's case against Trump would ultimately be negligible by saying, “And to think that the American public is going to be massively swayed by this, politically or otherwise, that's -- that's not going to happen.”

Governor's bottom line

Try as Stephanopoulous did to upend Sununu's rationale, the governor put things plainly for the host by stating, “Look, nobody should be shocked that the Republican governor is supporting the Republican president."

"Do you know what the real story is? The average American that has gone from Biden back to Trump, the average American that is feeling inflation and all these other issues that says, look, do all this – whether there's a conviction or not, we want a culture change in Washington, D.C., and we'll continue to support the former – former President Trump," the governor added.

Answering Stephanopoulous' incredulity that any American -- let alone a majority of them -- could support a Trump return to the White House, Sununu said, “It's about that type of elitism that the average American is just sick and tired of,” deftly encapsulating much of the former president's appeal to what appears to be a growing -- and perhaps determinative -- proportion of the electorate.

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