WASHINGTON — Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu pinned the GOP’s underperformance in recent elections on former President Donald Trump, saying “the Trump brand just doesn’t work.”
“It’s about the former president more than anything,” Sununu said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’ve had school board members, Republican school board members, that have lost their seat because they felt like they had to constantly answer for being a Trump Republican,” Sununu said.
Trump’s negative influence on elections, Sununu argued, bleeds into local elections at all levels.
“It isn’t just the federal seats. It’s the governorships, the school boards, the congressional seats, all of them, especially in a place like New Hampshire where we can kind of get back and forth. We’re very independent minded. The Trump brand doesn’t work,” Sununu said. “It just doesn’t.”
New Hampshire was one of several states in the 2022 midterm elections that saw Democrats sweep competitive congressional races. That was in part due to Trump-aligned candidates failing to win support from the state’s traditionally independent voters. Sununu is one of Trump’s most vocal critics and has urged his party to move on from him as the GOP’s de facto leader.
The New Hampshire governor, who passed on a 2024 presidential bid earlier this year, called on the candidates in the Republican primary race to be “a little tougher on Trump,” also praising presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his willingness to go after the former president.
“I think they have to be a little tougher on Trump,” Sununu said during the interview. “Chris Christie kind of really goes nuclear on him and God bless Chris. He does a great job with that. He exposes a lot of that which I think is important.”
Sununu took aim at entrepreneur and rising candidate in the primary, Vivek Ramaswamy, for calling Trump “one of the greatest presidents.” The New Hampshire governor said there was too much “kowtowing” to Trump in the first Republican presidential primary debate.
“I think what we saw on the debate stage last week, I think there was still a little too much kowtowing to him. You had Vivek saying he was one of the greatest presidents, but he was going to be better than him,” Sununu said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump to blame for GOP underperformance, NH governor says