Sununu: Trump Convictions Wouldn’t Be Disqualifying, Voters Think Trials Are ‘Reality TV’

Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that voters will choose former President Donald Trump even if he is convicted of crimes.

Partial transcript as follows:

STEPHANOPOULOS: History being made tomorrow, that criminal trial. Will your support for Donald Trump continue even if he’s convicted in Manhattan?

SUNUNU: Yeah, look, this — this trial is not going to have major political ramifications that a lot of people, I think, think it may have. And when it comes to these issues, people see it more as reality TV at this point. They really do. And so, you know, whether it’s a conviction or what that conviction looks like, a lot of folks, they conflate all four of these different trials that he’s in.

I don’t think it’s good that he’s going to be in the court, have to be in there probably three days a week, you know, for a number of weeks. That takes him off the campaign trail. He’ll probably go back on the campaign trail and almost, like, rehash what’s going on. He’ll try to victimize it. And that has worked for him, right? I mean, this has been going on for over a year, and his poll numbers never seem to go down because of the issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, yeah, you’re going to politics, though. I’m asking you about right and wrong. You think it’s — you’re comfortable with the idea of supporting someone who’s convicted of a federal crime as president?

SUNUNU: Oh, no. No — I don’t think any American is comfortable with any of this. They don’t like any of this, of course. But, I mean, when it comes to actually, you know, looking at each of these trials, as they, kind of, take place whether it’s this year or next year, or as they, kind of, line up, right now this is about an election, right? This is about politics. That’s what people are judging this on. And the ultimate, you know, decision will be — will be in November, to see where people are.

But for months, and even over a year, we’ve heard that these are the things that are going to bring Donald Trump down. It’s not. And to think that the American public is going to be massively swayed by this, politically or otherwise, that’s — that’s not going to happen. If anything —

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking whether you’re going to be swayed by it.

SUNUNU: Yeah —

STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, you’re a governor.

SUNUNU: No, no.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re an elected official. I’m asking whether you’re going to be swayed by it.

SUNUNU: Yeah. Look, nobody should be shocked that the Republican governor is supporting the Republican president.

Do you know what the real story is? The average American that has gone from Biden back to Trump, the average American that is feeling inflation and all these other issues that says, look, do all this — whether there’s a conviction or not, we want a culture change in Washington, D.C., and we’ll continue to support the former — former President Trump.

That’s the real story, right? That Trump is leading in the polls across America in a lot of these different polls.

So, no one should be surprised by my support. What — I think the real discussion is, you know, America’s moving away from Biden. That’s how bad Biden has become as president. There’s just no doubt about it, right?

You can’t ignore inflation. You can’t ignore the border and say that these issues in the courthouse are going to be the one thing that brings Biden back into office. It’s not going to happen that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you mentioned, this is one of only several indictments the former president is facing. Perhaps the most consequential one, of course, related to January 6th.

Right after that January 6 attack, I want to put this up on the screen, you said: It is clear that President Trump’s rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection. The domestic terrorists who attacked the United States Capitol must be held accountable and prosecuted.

Do you stand by that statement?

SUNUNU: A hundred percent, of course. They have to be prosecuted, and they are being prosecuted. That’s good.

I think he — his actions absolutely contributed to that. There’s no question about that. 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.

They want a culture of change in Washington, all the rules and policies that pound down on the American people. All the wokeness, right? The fact that folks in Washington, liberal elites in Washington want to stand on the shoulders of hardworking American families that built this country, defended this country and tell them how to live their lives.

They’re angry. They’re upset. That’s the culture change that people want to see.

People are upset by January 6th. They’re upset by the election denial. They have every right to be — I am — but at the end of the day, they need a culture change to get America back on track.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So — but wait a second right there. Your words were very, very clear on January 11th, 2021. You said that President Trump’s rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection.

No other president in American history —


STEPHANOPOULOS: — has contributed to an insurrection.

So, please explain, given the fact that you believe he contributed to an insurrection, how you can say we should have him back in the Oval Office?

SUNUNU: It’s not — because for me, it’s not about him as much as it is having a Republican administration — Republican secretaries, Republican rules, a sense where states’ rights come first, individual rights come first, parents’ rights come first.

We’re going to have a pro-business economy. We’re not going to have a cancel culture that has really infiltrated all across America.

It’s not about Trump with me. It’s about bringing those more live free or die —


STEPHANOPOULOS: But he will be the president. You’re saying —

SUNUNU: I’m the governor of the live free or die state, bringing that mentality back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That doesn’t make any sense to me, Governor. I’m sorry. You’re saying it’s not about Trump. You’re saying — he would be the president, and you’ve said he’s an insu — somebody who’s contributed to an insurrection.

SUNUNU: I understand it doesn’t make sense to you, George, but look at the polls. What you’re telling me is you don’t understand why 51 percent of this country is supporting Donald Trump.

They’re not crazy. They’re not MAGA conservatives. They’re not extremists. They want culture change. So, I appreciate —


STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor, I’m not talking — I’m not talking —

SUNUNU: The bigger issue is —

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m not talking about polls. I’m asking you a very simple question. You believe Donald Trump contributed to an insurrection. That’s correct, right?

SUNUNU: I stand by the statement.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You stand by the statement that he contributed to an insurrection.

SUNUNU: Look, his words — he — his words —


STEPHANOPOULOS: And you believe that someone — you believe that a president who contributed to an insurrection should be president again?

SUNUNU: As does 51 percent of America, George. I mean, really.

I understand you’re part of the media. I understand you’re in this New York City bubble or whatever it is, but you’ve got to look around what’s happening across this country. They’re not — it’s not about just supporting Trump. It’s getting rid of what we have today.

It’s about understanding inflation is crushing families. It’s understanding that this border issue is not a Texas issue. It’s a 50-state issue, right, that has to be brought under control.

It’s about that type of elitism that the average American is just sick and tired of. And it’s a culture change. That’s what I’m supporting. That’s what most of America right now is looking to support, and wants to change there.

That’s — so, again, I know you’re shocked that the Republican governor is supporting a Republican president and the Republican ticket, but it’s about the ticket. It’s about up and down the ballot, right? I want Republican governors and senators and congressmen, and that type of culture, if you will. I keep going back to that because that’s exactly what it is. That’s the change America is looking for. And they’re not relitigating January 6th. It’s not a top issue.

If you ask the average American, is January 6 a top issue and you go on the ballot box, not even in the top five. It doesn’t mean it’s not — it wasn’t a significant point, doesn’t mean we weren’t extremely disappointed by his words and actions, doesn’t mean we — you know, that we tap into this election denialism, which I believe very — very — I think it’s terrible what he’s done on the election denial.

But again, it’s not a top issue. People are voting on what’s happening in their homes, what’s happening with inflation, what’s happening on the border, right? That’s real, and that’s what they’re going to vote for, so —

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you’re against the election denialism which the president — former president repeated last night. You believe he contributed to the insurrection on January 6th. You believe it doesn’t matter if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case.

He’s also facing another indictment over classified documents. Previously, you’ve said these charges are serious and Trump should drop out of the race if he’s convicted. Do you still believe that?

SUNUNU: Well, look, in a primary — look, we fought hard in the primary. We got behind Nikki. This is the chaos that Nikki Haley and I and others warned about was going to follow Trump. That it’s just a complete distraction. I would rather have Republicans on the campaign trail talking about real issues than, you know, having to talk about this stuff. It’s a complete distraction.

It doesn’t mean he’s going to lose and it doesn’t people aren’t going to support the Republican ticket because, right now, it looks like they are. But, that’s the distraction we’re all trying to avoid.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But, I’m asking you a different question. I’m asking you a different question. I’m asking you a different question because you said in the past that he should drop out if he’s convicted in the classified documents case. Do you still believe that?

SUNUNU: No. No. No. He’s going to drop out after being the nominee? Of course, not. You know, that’s not to be expected at all. All of these cases, by the way, the average American, it’s on conflated, right? We watched this stuff. We watch the details. The average American sees it more as a reality TV. I am not saying it’s not — there not real issues to bear there, of course there are. But, there’s clearly politics to bear in some of these cases, that is undeniable.

The average American just thinks it’s more reality TV and 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 that this is some sort of deal breaker, again, I’ll go back to where I started where people are going to say, yep, if he’s convicted I’m walking away. That’s just not going to happen. At the end of the day, they want that culture change of the Republican Party, and if we have Trump as the standard bearer — and the voters decided that’s what they wanted, not what I wanted, but what the voters — what the Republican voters wanted, he’s going to be the standard bearer that we’ll it take it if we have to. That’s how badly America wants a culture change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So just to sum up, you would support him for president even if he is convicted in classified documents. You would support him for president even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You would support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You would 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?

SUNUNU: Yes, me and 51 percent of America.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.