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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu says Trump can’t win in November 2024: “We just have to find another candidate”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, the highest Republican within the state holding his occasion’s first presidential major election, advised CBS Information he doesn’t consider former President Donald Trump can win the White Home in 2024, ought to he be the GOP nominee.

“I do not assume he can win in November of ’24,” Sununu mentioned in a wide-ranging interview on Dec. 20. “He may very well be the nominee. However I don’t consider, and I feel most individuals would agree, he is simply going to — not going to have the ability to shut the deal in November of ’24.”

“We simply have to seek out one other candidate at this level,” he mentioned.

Sununu, 48, gained his reelection marketing campaign this 12 months by greater than 15 proportion factors and is being approached by some donors and officers about contemplating his personal 2024 presidential bid.

Whereas Sununu’s determination on his future is months away, “I am not ruling something out,” he mentioned.

Sununu framed his view that Republicans ought to transfer on from Trump, now 76 years outdated, as a part of his perception in generational change and in his hope for a pivot away from the combative politics of latest years — not as a private or ethical judgment of Trump’s character.

“I am not pro-Trump, I am not anti-Trump. I am like most of America. We’re simply shifting on,” Sununu mentioned.

“I feel simply naturally we’re shifting on as a result of that is what we do,” he mentioned. “Thanks to your service. I admire what you probably did. Perhaps we agreed. Perhaps we disagreed. However we’re simply shifting on, and I feel that is what you are going to discover within the 2024 election.” 

Sununu’s feedback come as Trump, who announced his third and latest presidential run in November, is going through authorized challenges and as his GOP rivals are mapping out attainable candidacies.

Within the interview, Sununu forged Trump’s early soar into the 2024 presidential race, only a week after the November midterm elections, as an “announcement of protection” — an try to solidify his standing with the GOP’s core voters.

“It hasn’t gone nice since then,” Sununu noticed of Trump’s marketing campaign because the announcement, which was adopted weeks later by Trump’s much-hyped unveiling of “Trump digital buying and selling playing cards,” a transfer that befuddled even his closest allies. “He retains [having] downside after downside after downside. He retains making his issues even worse. So, I simply do not see how this will get any higher for the previous president.”

New Hampshire has lengthy treasured its position because the “first-in-the-nation major.” For Republicans, it stays the primary presidential major election, however Democrats have just lately moved at hand South Carolina the primary major election of their occasion’s 2024 marketing campaign. 

Sununu, who holds an engineering diploma from the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, is not any stranger to high-level Republican presidential politics. His father, John H. Sununu, is a former governor and White Home chief of workers for President George H.W. Bush. His brother, John E. Sununu, is a retired senator and former Home member. 

When requested if he’s considering of operating for president, Sununu advised CBS Information, “Not in the present day.”

However he additionally mentioned he is obtained gives from some to boost cash and assist construct the infrastructure for a marketing campaign.  

“It’s extremely flattering conversations — I am not ruling something out by any means,” Sununu mentioned. “However I actually do have an obligation to New Hampshire first.”

Nonetheless, he mentioned, he’s “completely” keen to hearken to Republicans about how he may help the occasion. 

In 2023, Sununu mentioned he plans to journey nationwide to satisfy with voters and likeminded leaders, with a 2024 run “not in my wheelhouse proper now — however we’ll see what the longer term brings.”

Sununu’s political operation is quietly laying the groundwork for the governor ought to he select to maneuver ahead with a marketing campaign, together with an digital-ad effort this month “focusing on voters within the early nominating states of Iowa and South Carolina” that focuses on his message of generational change and leaving “negativity behind.”

“I do not assume anybody wants to actually determine whether or not they’re operating for president till in all probability this summer time,” Sununu mentioned within the interview. “I feel you will see a number of of us wait till then as a result of they will — they will produce other advocacy teams and the whole lot about speaking nationally, sort of feeling out these waters. You do not actually do the exploratory committee stuff anymore. However as you get into the following fall, I feel you will begin seeing all people actually determine, proper, whether or not it is [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis or [Mike] Pompeo or [former] Vice President [Mike] Pence. Everybody could have their very own timeline for various causes. However I feel folks can wait.”

When requested about how DeSantis has clashed with some corporations in Florida over social points, Sununu mentioned he has a “very completely different strategy” to coping with non-public corporations. 

“Non-public companies are non-public companies,” Sununu mentioned. “We’ve the live-free’or-die perspective in relation to issues like that… I do not consider in battling companies in any respect. I consider in empowering them as a result of they rent America. They drive the economic system.”

Earlier this 12 months, DeSantis sparred with Walt Disney Co. over Disney executives’ considerations about DeSantis’ insurance policies affecting schooling and LGBTQ protections. That confrontation included DeSantis’ opposition to Disney’s particular tax standing within the state and its classification as an “unbiased particular district.”

“Having [culture] struggle battles, I am going to simply say, is certainly one thing we do not do right here in New Hampshire,” he mentioned. “I do not assume it must be completed. And I do not assume it is a very Republican worth.”

If Sununu entered the 2024 presidential race, a number of strategists say he may discover ample assist in his residence state and draw discover from conventional Republicans and business-friendly independents. However in addition they consider he would possible face challenges not solely from Trump, but additionally from extra socially conservative Republican contenders. 

Sununu has typically described himself as a supporter of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court docket case defending abortion rights that was overturned earlier this 12 months. He has additionally signed into regulation a state ban on abortions after 24 weeks of gestation with exceptions together with a fetus identified with “abnormalities incompatible with life.”

Sununu known as one other Republican governor incessantly talked about by donors and activists as a attainable 2024 candidate, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a “nice governor in Virginia.”

“He acquired elected when he mentioned dad and mom matter. And people two phrases actually translated even past colleges and mentioned people matter.” 

Sununu criticized California Gov. Gavin Newsom for his place on abortion, claiming Newsom helps abortions “up-to-the-minute of start.” 

The Related Press final month concluded such claims about Newsom’s abortion place, particularly his assist for an abortion-rights proposal referred to as Proposition 1, are “lacking context.”

“Present state-subsidized well being applications cowl abortion providers for qualifying sufferers and these wouldn’t be modified by Proposition 1,” the Related Press wrote in its fact-checking article about associated claims. “The modification doesn’t point out prohibiting or permitting abortions late in being pregnant. However state regulation already restricts third-trimester abortions, and California authorized consultants advised The Related Press they do not anticipate courts would interpret the modification as expressly allowing them.”

You may watch the total interview with Sununu here or within the participant above.

Fernando Suarez, Aaron Navarro, and Grace Kazarian contributed to this report.

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