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Sununu says he supports Trump despite insurrection and criminal charges

Policy

Nothing, not even a felony conviction, would stop Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire from voting for Trump, he said.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu participates in a roundtable discussion, November 15, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, file

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Sunday that former President Donald Trump “absolutely contributed” to an insurrection and that Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election were “absolutely terrible” — but that nothing, not even a felony conviction would not prevent him from voting. for Trump because the economy, border security and “culture change” were more important.

The interview, on ABC News’ “This Week,” showed Sununu’s transformation from Trump critic — while supporting Nikki Haley in the Republican primary, he said Trump was “worried about prison time” and “not a true republican” – to loyal foot soldier. .

It’s a transformation that has been repeated repeatedly within the Republican Party and one that Sununu announced in January, when he was campaigning for Haley, but declared he would support Trump s he won the nomination.

“No one should be surprised by my support,” he said on Sunday. “I think the real debate is, you know, Americans are moving away from Biden. This is how bad Biden has become as president. There’s no doubt about it, is there? You can’t ignore inflation. You can’t ignore the border and say these problems at the courthouse are going to be the only thing that gets Biden back into office.”

The interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, asked Sununu why he supported a man he said “contributed to the insurrection” on January 6, 2021.

Sununu said he still believed him. But he said it should surprise no one that a Republican governor would support a Republican candidate and suggested Stephanopoulos was out of touch with public opinion if he thought concerns about democracy or felony convictions could sway voters .

“You think a president who contributed to an insurrection should become president again? » asked Stephanopoulos.

“Like 51 percent of America, George,” Sununu said. “I mean really. I understand you’re in the media, I understand you’re in this New York bubble or whatever, but you have to look at what’s happening across the country.

He continued: “It’s not just about supporting Trump. It’s getting rid of what we have today. It’s about understanding that inflation crushes families. It is understood that this border question is not a Texas question; This is a problem that concerns 50 states and must be brought under control. This is the type of elitism that the average American has had enough of, and it’s a culture shift. This is what I support.

Inflation fell sharply from its 2022 peak, but was higher than expected in a report released last week.

Sununu said Americans’ desire for “culture change,” a phrase he used eight times but did not concretely define, outweighed concerns about Trump’s efforts to overturn the election or the four criminal trials he faces, the first of which begins this week.

Even if Trump as a Republican candidate wasn’t what he wanted, “we’ll take it if we have to,” Sununu said. “This shows how much America wants a cultural change.”

Stephanopoulos pushed back once again.

“So, to summarize, you would support him for president even if he was found guilty in classified documents,” he said. “You support him for president even though you think he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you think he’s lying about the last election. You would support him for president even if he is convicted in the Manhattan affair. I just want to say that the answer to this question is yes, right?

“Yeah,” Sununu said. “Me and 51% of America.”

This article was originally published in the New York Times.

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