Sununu says he’ll support Trump even if he’s convicted

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu speaks at the last of his Concord Chamber of Commerce annual State of the State luncheon at the Red Blazer on Tuesday, March 25, 2024.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu speaks at the last of his Concord Chamber of Commerce annual State of the State luncheon at the Red Blazer on Tuesday, March 25, 2024.

By JOSH ROGERS

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 04-16-2024 8:13 AM

As jury selection begins this week in the hush-money trial of former President Donald Trump, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu says he doesn’t believe many voters view Trump’s criminal indictments, his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, or his election denialism as disqualifying him from the presidency.

And, in an interview with ABC News, Sununu said he doesn’t either.

Speaking with George Stephanopoulos on This Week, Sununu said he’ll support Trump even if he is convicted on felony charges. In the trial starting this week, Trump faces 34 felony counts that he falsified business records in order to hide payments to former adult actress Stormy Daniels — information that could have damaged his 2016 presidential campaign.

The trial is the first time in U.S. history a former president will be tried on criminal charges.

The trial, which kicked off Monday in a Manhattan courtroom, is expected to run at least six weeks, even as Trump campaigns for the presidency again.

But while Sununu said Trump wasn’t his first choice for president, he said putting Trump back in the White House will allow Republicans to achieve the “culture change” he says the country needs.

In the past, Sununu had said Trump should leave the race if convicted of a felony. His new stance came amid much back-and-forth with Stephanopoulos.

“So, just to sum up: you would support [Trump] for president even if he is convicted in the classified documents case,” Stephanopoulos said. “You support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You’d support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?

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“Yes,” Sununu responded. “Me and 51 percent of America.”

Trump faces other major trials related to his handling of classified documents, his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and his role in alleged election interference in Georgia in the last presidential campaign.

But Sununu repeatedly argued that opposing Trump now — given issues like inflation and pressure along the U.S.-Mexico border — amounts to elitism that he predicted voters will reject.

“I think all of that was absolutely terrible, but what people are going to be voting for, the reason I’m supporting — not just the president, but a Republican administration — that’s what this is,” he said. “They want a culture of change in Washington.”

Sununu formally endorsed Trump last month, when his preferred candidate, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, ended her bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

In the past, Sununu has argued that Trump should leave the presidential race if convicted of a felony. But in the interview, Sununu said he no longer believes that, arguing that most voters now view the charges against Trump as “reality TV.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.