Sununu Was The 'Last Reasonable Republican' -- And Now He's Not

Sununu Was The 'Last Reasonable Republican' -- And Now He's Not

Gov. Chris Sununu

Namby, meet pamby. I’m talking, naturally, of Chris Sununu, governor of New Hampshire, who slithered into a Zoom call on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday to explain why he will be voting for Donald Trump for president come November. Not because Trump doesn’t have any responsibility for the attempted coup and attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He does. Sununu thinks that all the insurrectionists “must be held accountable and prosecuted.” Except one: the man he’s voting for in November.

Watching him answering the questions of Stephanopoulos was like watching something with more legs than two crawl out from beneath a wet rock on a rainy day. Sununu, who supported Nikki Haley in the primary until she dropped out, doesn’t see anything wrong with now supporting Donald Trump for president. To explain why, he attacked the “wokeness, the fact that folks in Washington, liberal elites in Washington, want to stand on the shoulders of hard-working American families that built this country, that defended this country, and tell them how to live their lives.” Apparently, Sununu has recognized that sounding exactly like Marjorie Taylor Greene will help you as a Republican in America, even up there in the Granite State.

Stephanopoulos should have asked Sununu just what he meant by that statement. Telling people how to live their lives isn’t “woke,” it is part of the business of government. If you earn money, you pay taxes. If you form a company and the company earns money, you pay corporate taxes. If your company is publicly traded, so individual American citizens can invest in it, can give you money so that you can spend it to help your company earn more money, you must register that company with the SEC, you cannot spend your investors’ money on yourself and your own lifestyle, and you must return some of the profits you earn to your investors. If you drive on Interstate highways, you must follow the speed limit. If you manufacture cars, you must install seat belts and airbags in those cars to keep safe the people who drive them. If you buy a firearm at a firearms store, you must pass a background check to make sure that you are not a felon with no right to buy or own a firearm.

Sununu has learned the lesson all Republicans have learned, that it is not necessary to make sense and to tell the truth. When asked by Stephanopoulos if he indeed believed “that a president who contributed to an insurrection should be president again,” Sununu was ready with a lie: “As does 51 percent of America, George. I mean, really.”

Trump lost the election of 2020, 51.3 percent of the vote for Biden, 46.9 percent for Trump. He lost the electoral college by 74 electoral votes. Here is how Sununu explained what happened in the last election: “I hate the election denialism of 2020. Nobody wants to be talking about that in 2024. I think all of that was absolutely terrible, but what people are going to be voting for, what I -- what -- the reason I’m supporting not just the president, but the Republican administration. That's what this is.”

Stephanopoulos didn’t ask him how it is that the “nobody” Sununu identifies as not wanting to talk about election denialism does not include the man he says he’s voting for, Donald Trump, who has made denying the truth of the 2020 election the centerpiece of his campaign.

Listen to Sununu, until now considered one of the so-called reasonable Republicans, as he summed up why he’s voting for Trump: “States rights come first, individual rights come first, parents rights come first.” That’s the Trumpian Republican Kool-Aid right there in a single sentence. That is the reasoning behind the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe and created the nightmare women are facing in states exercising their “states rights” around the country. That is the rhetorical sewer from which the book bans and Black history denialism has emerged over the last several years.

And it’s coming out of the mouth of Chris Sununu. Sununu said previously that Trump should drop out of the race if he is convicted of a crime. Does he think that now? “No, no, no, of course not. That is not to be expected at all. There is clearly politics to bear in some of these cases, that is undeniable. The average American just says it’s more of reality TV in prosecution of him at this point. He plays that victim card very, very well. His poll numbers only go up with this stuff. So, to think of this as some kind of deal breaker, again, I’ll go back to where I started, that people are saying, yep, if he’s convicted, I’m walking away. That’s just not going to happen. If he’s going to be the standard bearer of it, we’ll take it if we have to. That’s how badly Americans want a culture change.”

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Mike Pence are the only two prominent Republicans who are not named Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger who have announced they will not vote for Donald Trump, and only Kinzinger has said he will instead vote for Joe Biden.

And to think that these are the reasonable Republicans among us.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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