GOP governor urges candidates to find ‘separation’ from Trump


New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has urged Republican candidates to seek a “separation” from Donald Trump as the former president remains the party’s front-runner after Wednesday’s first Republican presidential debate. (You can catch Sununu’s remarks in the clip below.)

In an interview with The Hill on NewsNation on Friday, the Republican governor said the candidates had done a “great job,” ignoring Trump despite his absence from the debate stage, before stating they “can face him.”

“I don’t think they need to go nuclear like Chris [Christie] does… but everyone has to find separation from him in his own way,” Sununu said.

“And some of them do; some of them are not. I think Nikki Haley did pretty well, but that’s really the key: It’s not just about attacking him, but then figuring out where your candidacy is, assessing it as the fall progresses and saying, ‘Look, when it’s time to back down.’ You’ve got to get back out there.'”

In the days leading up to the debate, Sununu urged candidates to “break away from Mr. Trump’s drama” and “go on the offensive.”

The Republican governor, who said in June he had decided against running for the White House, added that Trump would lose in a scenario with fewer candidates.

“If the number of candidates challenging Trump goes down, especially when it comes to one-on-one talks, he loses. No question. The Republican Party can go ahead,” Sununu said.

“But that was really the occasion of the debate the other night. For the first time in really six years…six years since we’ve seen Republican Party leadership without Donald Trump, and it’s been looking pretty good. People are very happy with this debate. There is a lot of energy, a lot of exchange of ideas. It didn’t fail,” he added.

On average across the nationwide polls, Trump has a more than 37 percentage point lead over the next GOP nominee. according to FiveThirtyEight.

NewsNation’s Mike Viqueira later asked the GOP governor, a staunch Trump critic, why he opposed the former president.

“I’m against him because he can’t win. I want winners,” Sununu said, citing Republican performance in the 2018 midterm election, 2020 presidential election and 2022 midterm election.

“He, his embassy, ​​his candidates all lost. So why should we do this a fourth time and expect a different result?” Sununu said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a four-term governor, you can’t govern if you don’t win in November. And on November 24th, he proved he couldn’t do it.”

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