Some Republicans may fear the political prowess of former President Donald Trump, but New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu isn’t one of them.
During a national radio interview Friday, the GOP governor criticized Trump’s reported decision to launch his 2024 bid next week saying it was “silly” and revealed the former president’s lack of understanding of “ground game politics.”
And, Sununu added, Trump’s move risked “mucking up” Republican hopes of winning the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia and, with it, potential control of the Senate.
Sununu, who was just re-elected with a 15-point margin amid a blue surge in the Granite State, made his comments on Julie Mason’s Sirius XM radio program.
Asked if Trump’s decision to announce next week was “good” or “terrible,” Sununu picked the latter.
“Find me someone in America who thinks it’s a good idea,” Sununu laughed. Sununu, who has hinted he might jump in the race himself, said Trump’s decision won’t keep anyone else out of the race — though Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he has decided not to run soon after Trump made it clear an announcement was on its way.
Sununu added Trump’s decision raises questions about his political acumen.
“It’s going to be a very awkward thing with only him in the race. No one’s going to really care. It’s going to be weird,” Sununu said. “I don’t think they’ve thought this out very well.
“He’s really great on gut instincts of the constituents connecting with the anger and fire of a lot of people. But when it comes to ground-game political instincts, this would be a silly decision.”
It was not the first time Sununu has thrown down on Trump. After Tuesday night’s GOP fade, he told Fox News the election results hurt Trump’s cause.
“Do you see a lot of people saying, ‘Gee, I can’t wait to be arm-and-arm with former President Trump’ after the results we had?” Sununu asked. “I can’t imagine that. There’s going to be a lot of distancing: Of money, of voters, of folks saying clearly, they have decided it’s time for us to move on.”
And Sununu made national headlines in April when during a humorous speech to the Gridiron Club dinner he said Trump was “f***ing crazy.”
Sununu also called out Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for injecting a national abortion ban into the race, and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for “scaring people” with his Social Security proposals. “They put unnecessary gas on the fire.”
Sununu is hardly alone in placing the blame for the GOP’s struggles at the feet of Donald Trump. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Trump ally, added his own critique.
“We lost in ’18. We lost in ’20. We lost in ’21 in Georgia. And now in ’22 we’re going to net-lose governorships, we’re not going to pick up the number of seats in the House that we thought, and we may not win the Senate despite a president who has a 40 percent job approval,” Christie said. “There’s only one person to blame for that, and that’s Donald Trump.”
And Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, a popular Fox News conservative, announced she is not on board the Trump 2024 train.
“We have a clear mission, and it is time to move on. I could not support him. I just couldn’t,” Sears said.