Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire is getting some pushback for remarks he made Saturday about Donald Trump, and now he claims that it was “all in fun.” Sure. But then again, maybe it wasn’t. Sununu is the Mitt Romney of the Granite State. Like Romney, he is representative of everything that is wrong with the Republican Party establishment: Sununu is all too eager to adopt and further the Left’s views and policies and views Republicans who aren’t part of the establishment as his political enemies. And they are.
Chris Sununu comes from an old New Hampshire Republican family, and of course, that is part of the problem. His father, John H. Sununu, was governor of New Hampshire from 1983 to 1989, and then served as George H. W. Bush’s chief of staff. Chris’s brother, John E. Sununu, was a congressman and then a senator from New Hampshire. Chris has never been known to be the sharpest knife in the drawer; he is the Fredo of the family.
Fredo was in fighting form Saturday evening at the Gridiron Dinner. He started by praising Trump’s “experience,” “passion,” and “sense of integrity,” and then abruptly changed his tone: “Nah, I’m just kidding. He’s f***ing crazy.” Sununu didn’t stop there but piled on even more: “The press often will ask me if I think Donald Trump is crazy. And I’ll say it this way: I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out!”
Since the laughs died down, however, Sununu has been feeling the heat. Never known to have much of a spine, Sununu is backtracking furiously. “It’s all a joke,” he insisted Monday on a New Hampshire podcast. “Look. I don’t think he’s crazy. It’s all in fun. It’s all a joke. And anyone who’s trying to make this more than it is either seriously doesn’t understand what the Gridiron Dinner is all about or just has to lighten up a bit.”
Apparently, that didn’t do the trick, so Sununu went on another show and demanded that “if anyone is taking any of those jokes seriously, lighten up. It’s a roast. It’s fun … I made jokes about my own family and myself and Republicans as much as I made fun about Democrats and Joe Biden and AOC and Bernie Sanders and socialists.”
Sure. But this isn’t the first time Sununu has set himself up in opposition to Trump. Fox News noted that “over the past year and a half, Sununu’s pushed back against Trump’s unproven claims that the 2020 presidential election was ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen.’ He’s also stated more than once that the GOP is larger than any one person, which was perceived as a swipe at the former president, who remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party.” While Trump was president, Sununu pushed back against his attempts to tamp down the COVID hysteria. When Trump said “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Sununu shot back: “I’m afraid of COVID, I think everyone should be very concerned about COVID.”
All right, so Sununu dislikes Trump. But it isn’t just Trump, either: “Sununu upset state and national Republicans for vowing to veto a congressional redistricting map passed by the GOP controlled state legislature that would have made the state’s 1st Congressional District, which the GOP’s aiming to flip from blue to red this November, more competitive for Republicans.” Who would want the electoral map more competitive for Republicans? Only those who want a real choice in New Hampshire and Washington, not those who are content with the current establishment hegemony.
Sununu is likewise annoyed with America-First Republicans in New Hampshire, whom he sneeringly dismisses as “libertarians.” In August 2021, Sununu fumed: “The Libertarians are not Republicans. They have their own party, their own place. Libertarians are not Republicans. Okay? I know a lot of them like to sign up as Republicans and pass themselves off as Republicans. But they’re not. Not even remotely.” Well, that depends on which side gains control of the party, doesn’t it?
If Sununu has his way, the Republican Party will continue to be a dreary assemblage of Romneyites, country clubbers, yes-men, and me-too-ers, much like it is now. His mockery of Trump was a mockery of all those who want to see a genuine alternative in American politics and a resurgence of candidates who will actually put the best interests of the nation first, rather than their own bottom line or internationalist utopian fantasies. Sununu is supposedly a rising star in the national Republican Party, and he would be a perfect establishment vice president for an America-First president, à la his father’s old boss George H. W. Bush for Reagan and his friend Mike Pence for Trump. We can only hope that whatever bandwagon Sununu manages to gin up will hit a rock fairly early on.