Editorial: Chris Sununu’s moral vacuum

President Donald Trump is greeted by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, left, as he arrives for a campaign rally at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Friday Aug. 28, 2020 in Londonderry, N.H. President Trump easily won the February New Hampshire Republican primary. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

President Donald Trump is greeted by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, left, as he arrives for a campaign rally at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Friday Aug. 28, 2020 in Londonderry, N.H. President Trump easily won the February New Hampshire Republican primary. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) Charles Krupa—AP

Published: 04-19-2024 10:01 PM

Modified: 04-22-2024 1:45 PM


New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s conversion from “Never Trump” to “Ever Trump” occurred not on the road to Damascus but on the Republican Party’s road to perdition.

On ABC News last Sunday, Sununu affirmed his intention to support Donald Trump for president come what may, joining throngs of other Republican officeholders who have approached the former president on bended knee to anoint him as their party’s savior this year.

What distinguishes Sununu is that his decision is thoroughly cynical, confirming that he is the moral cipher that many in New Hampshire have long suspected. Far from being blinded by the MAGA blight, the governor campaigned long and hard for Nikki Haley during the primary season, referring to Trump variously as a loser and not a real Republican along with an epithet not printable in a general circulation newspaper. In his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Sununu did not even bother to retract anything he had previously said about Trump. The following exchange nicely captures the tone.

Stephanopoulos: “So just to sum up, you would support him for president even if he was convicted in classified documents. 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 even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?”

Sununu: “Yeah, me and 51% of America.”

We think the governor is relying on some outdated poll numbers, but even if he weren’t, that is hardly a reason to endorse someone for president who tried to overthrow the Constitution once and promises to try again. Sununu’s explanation for doing so reflects utter contempt for the intelligence of the American people.

He claims that his reason is “how bad (Joe) Biden has become as president,” citing inflation and chaotic conditions at the southern border. Biden’s record on the border is certainly not stellar, but let’s not forget that earlier this year he backed a tough border security bill that included just about all the enforcement measures Republicans asked for. At Trump’s bidding, they tanked it in order to enhance his election chances.

As for inflation, it has cooled to about 3.5%, among the lower rates in the world, and wages for rank-and-file workers are now rising faster than inflation. The U.S. economy expanded 2.5% in 2023, the third straight year it has grown. Job growth under Biden has been record-setting; 14 million jobs have been created on his watch, 4.9 million more than before the pandemic. A bigger portion of working-age Americans were employed in 2023 than at any time in recent years.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Hartford parts with state champion girls hockey coach
Kenyon: By charging for after school program, CCBA loses sight of its mission
Over Easy: Baby crazy in West Lebanon
Fairlee and Orford Fourth of July parade canceled due to traffic concerns
Search for missing Dartmouth graduate student ends tragically
Plan for 240 apartments in White River Junction completes planning and zoning review

Moreover, the number of American without health insurance has fallen sharply. Crime data indicates that murders decreased in U.S. cities for the past two years. Gun purchases declined in 2023 for the third straight year. The stock market recorded an all-time high recently. Not exactly dystopia.

This is not to mention that while berating the Biden administration, Sununu has been lavishing federal aid on many important things that the state of New Hampshire is too cheap to undertake itself, such as the $15 million purchase of Hampstead Hospital to provide psychiatric care for young people.

We can only speculate on the reasons for Sununu’s self-abasement. Perhaps he is playing the loyal foot soldier in order to retain some influence in the party, hoping to pick up the pieces after Trump implodes and thereby further his own political ambitions.

If so, this is delusional. Republicans no longer exist as a party with a coherent ideology and policy agenda; they are a cult of personality. And with all such cults, anyone who deviates will forever be anathema to the true believers. So Sununu’s chances of being welcomed back into the fold are slim and none. If Trump gets elected and succeeds in toppling the constitutional order, Sununu will suffer for his Faustian bargain right along with the rest of us.