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N.H. Governor Sununu says people want him to run for president, assails Trump, DeSantis in Fox News interview

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu takes part in a panel discussion during a Republican Governors Association conference, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said “a lot of folks” want him to run for president and criticized fellow Republicans Donald J. Trump, who has announced his 2024 candidacy, and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor believed to be mulling his own White House bid.

“A lot of folks are coming to me,” Sununu told Fox, without naming anyone. “A lot of folks want me to run. It’s definitely conversations that we’re having.”

Sununu said that Trump “has announced he’s going to run again, and he is not the top contender necessarily, right? There’s lots of other folks that are going to get in the race. No one is backing out of the race. The party is not galvanizing all around him. Nothing like that is happening, so obviously it is from a place of weakness.”

The governor conceded that Trump, who lost his reelection bid in 2020 but who continues to insist falsely that the race was stolen from him, could possibly win the nomination.

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“But I don’t believe, I think most people would agree, I don’t believe he can win in November of ‘24″ in the general election, Sununu said.

“There’s lots of other great leaders out there” who could be the party’s standard bearer, he said without naming anyone specifically.

He did, however, level criticism at DeSantis, who’s currently being sued for his role in flying 50 Venezuelan and Peruvian migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Sept. 14 without notice in a move blasted by critics as a political stunt.

Sununu didn’t mention that controversy but appeared to make reference to a public feud that played out last year between Disneyand DeSantis, who in April signed a bill that could have major tax implications for the Florida-based entertainment giant, which voiced opposition to the state’s so-called Don’t Say Gay law.

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Government, Sununu told Fox, should be mainly concerned with public schools, institutions, parks, and facilities, as well as the public trust.

“That’s where we can have real control,” Sununu said. “Private businesses can and should act like private businesses without the fear of being punished by people [who] might disagree with them. And while I agree with a lot of those issues that Ron brings to the table, I think he’s right. But to necessarily punish private businesses because they don’t agree with a policy or whatever it might be, those types of culture wars pushing their way into the private sector, that’s definitely not, I don’t think, where we want to be as Americans.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.