GOP gov can’t fathom why Trump’s rivals aren’t jumping on indictment for their own political gain

The “never let a good crisis go to waste” mantra is not just the Democrats’ pledge. There are some opportunistic Republicans who are quite happy to exploit a bad situation for their own gain, and, like their colleagues on the left, they are surprised more in the GOP aren’t willing to do the same.

Take Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. He is straight-up shocked that Republican challengers to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination aren’t leaping on the 37-count indictment of the former president and using it to bolster their own campaigns.

Sununu joined Anderson Cooper on Friday’s “CNN Primetime” to discuss the perception “problems” with the indictment.

(Video: CNN)

“Well, look, I think there’s a couple problems here that folks are glossing over,” the governor said. “The average American saw boxes sitting in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. They saw boxes behind Biden’s Corvette. And the average American is going, ‘What’s the difference? Why do you charge one and not the other?'”

“The burden of proof right now is actually on the Department of Justice,” he said. “There’s a cloud of politicization around that group. They have made some enormous errors. They really have to come out and be clear not just about what they are charging the former president with, but how it differs. How does it differ from the emails of Hillary Clinton? How does it differ? Because without doing that, it’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf, right?”

“They’ve made a bunch of mistakes here before,” Sununu noted. “Folks are going to think that it’s political.”

“This is really serious stuff without a doubt,” he stated. “And he has to be held to bear.”

Republicans, he suggested, should be “more aggressive” and throw Trump under a bus.

“I’m actually a little surprised the other candidates running against him for president are not more aggressive about calling out for what it is: It’s a huge problem,” Sununu stated. “And mostly it’s a huge problem for the Republican Party. Once again, the former president is just a terrible message bearer for the Republican Party, and it’s scaring independents away.”

“Does it surprise you that Nikki Haley or Tim Scott or others haven’t been vocally vocal about this?” Cooper asked.

“Yes, yes,” Sununu replied enthusiastically.

When asked to explain why, the governor replied, “You’re down 40 points in the polls. I don’t know why they’re doing it!”

“They’re running against him,” he continued. “You’re trying to beat the guy ahead of you. You’re trying to knock him down. The rap sheet is a mile long, you would think they would be more aggressive.”

“They’re trying to focus on the problems around the DOJ,” he said. “There are real problems. That place needs an overhaul, no question. We could do hours on that. But let’s focus on the facts at hand.”

“You’re running against a guy with 37 indictments against him. You almost look like you’re defending him at this point,” he stated. “Those are not–does not look like a serious candidate that’s willing to take him on over the next six months to knock his poll fun numbers down and shoot you to the top. Either you want to run for president and beat the guy or you don’t.”

Sununu did give “credit” to House GOP members for “keeping their powder dry.”

“They’re looking at the facts,” he said. “They’re keeping their powder dry. Because they’re realizing, this is actually quite serious stuff.”

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, there’s a double standard,'” he said. “And maybe there is. But, again, the burden of proof on the Department of Justice is to show that there isn’t. ”

“That is a paramount issue here,” Sununu stated. “Otherwise, they’re going to get killed in the court of public opinion. Not just with Republicans, but across the board. But they’re looking at the facts, looking at the reality of what the indictment is. And it’s obviously very severe. Based on the conversations that were had, this isn’t hearsay. These are the President’s words… And as Governor [Chris] Christie brought up on your show a little bit ago, he had every chance to bring them back. He had every chance to return them.”

“He chose not to,” he said. “This is purely self-inflicted on his part. But, again, I think the Department of Justice has a lot of work to do to get their messaging straight and understand that, again, it just — it’s going to look like there’s a double standard, and the burden of proof is on them, not on the other side.”


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Melissa Fine


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