NH’s Sununu: U.S. Moving on From Trump, Open to a White House Run
While Gov. Chris Sununu says he is still thinking about a White House run, he does not think Donald Trump should try to recapture the presidency.
During an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on a program called "Being Chris Sununu" that aired Friday night, Sununu said that Trump doesn't have the influence he thinks he has on the electorate.
"He's announcing he's running for president at his most politically weak point. He's doing it from a point of weakness, from a point of whatever his own agenda is. But it's kind of just a blip on the radar. There's an argument to be made he's not even the frontrunner, right," Sununu said.
Sununu doesn't think Trump will win, and believes the country is moving on from him and his continuing belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
"He's done his service, we're moving on. We are. As a country as a party, we want the next idea, we want the next generation, whatever it is. So, to say we're going to be a country where the best opportunity for our future leadership is the leadership of yesterday, that's, frankly, un-American. We're just taking the next step. We're moving on. Thank you for your service, we're moving on," Sununu said.
Governors Would Make Good Presidents
As for his own aspirations, he thinks governors are uniquely qualified to be president because of their executive leadership skills, be it someone like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or himself.
"I always say the Senate, US Senate and Congress has its place, but they don’t have executive leadership skills,” Sununu said.
Ironically, he also hit upon a trait that many found appealing about Donald Trump: being a businessman to prepare to govern.
"It's the only training. And I'm quite a big believer in that. If you haven't had the sweat out payroll to take care of your employees and their families, if you haven't had to work with shareholders or folks that are coming to you to manage their money, I mean, there's no greater responsibility in government than managing other people's money, none," Sununu said.
When asked about his backing Republicans Karoline Leavitt and Robert Burns in the first and second congressional district races and Don Bulduc for Senate, Sununu said they lost because voters didn't believe they had what was needed to address their most important issues: inflation and energy.
"What they said was 'we need to fix these policies, but we have to fix the system first. We have to fix the machine.' And they didn't have faith that these individuals would be a fix to that Washington problem to get more stuff done," Sununu said.
Sununu's Own White House Run
The governor said he's been asked about a White House run plenty of times, and while it's not something he's thinking about, he's open to it. Part of his job is being ready for whatever comes next, according to Sununu.
"My focus right now is New Hampshire. It really is. Because it has to be and I want it to be," Sununu said.
There are lots of things to consider beyond the politics, like the impact on his family.
"Look, there's a lot of downsides with being president of the United States. There's the whole living in a bubble and all that kind, and you do that to a certain extent in New Hampshire. But boy, I can still stay so connected to my constituents, and that's probably a lot harder to do as president."
The decision by Trump to run in 2024 will not impact his decisionmaking process. He reiterated that he believes the former president is on a slow downward spiral, but could still win the 2024 presidential nomination.
Why Talk to CNN?
SNHU Civic Scholar and founder of NH Political Capital Dean Spiliotes said that no matter Sununu's plan for the future, the interview helps his national profile.
"That was some awesome free publicity for the governor, the kind of favorable, soft focus profile that politicians covet. It certainly has the potential to raise his national profile," Spiliotes said.
Spiliotes said the governor was the most definitive in his criticism of Trump, and he did not make any attempt to walk the fine line he has tread in the past.
"Sununu seems more open to assuming a leadership role in moving the national GOP forward past Trump. Whether that means a presidential run remains to be seen. There is no incentive for him to make any declarative statements in either direction right now," Spiliotes said.
Note: CNN did not post video of the entire interview after its original airing. A transcript was posted.