GOP Political Leaders Offer Opinions on Trump Candidacy

October 2, 2023 by Jacquelyn Burrer
GOP Political Leaders Offer Opinions on Trump Candidacy
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

AUSTIN, Texas — On the heels of a New York Times op-ed that stirred controversy within his own party, Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu amplified his thoughts on the 2024 presidential election and the future of the GOP during a keynote address at the recent Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. 

The festival, held each year by the nonprofit politics and public policy news website, is intended to bring Texans “closer” to politics, policy and important news events.

During his opening keynote, Sununu wasted no time going after purported Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, dismissing the ex-president as “too dumb to be a danger.”

He went on to reference a conversation he had with a former Republican governor of Texas, stating, “Asshole leaders come and go, but our institutions stand strong.”

Building on his recent op-ed, Sununu focused on laying out how the Republican Party can turn away from Trump becoming the nominee by explaining that Republicans must narrow the field early on in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to force him out. 

“Out of all the eight candidates that are out there right now, they all have the same interest in Trump not being the nominee,” Sununu said. “What they need to do is make sure that their selfish interests of staying too long [in the race] and a little too much ego doesn’t thwart that for everybody else.” 

When asked who Sununu is planning to support, the governor avoided the question by responding, “I don’t have a candidate. When I figure out who I’m going to vote for, I’ll absolutely let everyone know.”

After being asked if he would support Trump should he become the Republican nominee, Sununu declined to answer and stated, “I think it’s more likely that Biden isn’t the Democratic nominee than Trump isn’t the Republican nominee.”

In reference to the first Republican debate that took place Aug. 23, Sununu explained that he was excited to see the new leadership emerging in the GOP, stating, “For the first time in six years, [we] saw the future of the Republican Party without Trump.”

In a separate panel at the festival, presidential candidate and former two-term Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson also shared his thoughts regarding Trump’s candidacy in the election. As previously reported in The Well News, Hutchinson did not appear at the second Republican debate after failing to meet the qualifications for donors. 

Referencing Trump’s current legal issues, Hutchinson stated, “This is a very unpredictable environment, [and] it’s important we handle this the right way because the world is watching.”

He continued, “Regardless of what happens in court cases, the American public ultimately will determine if he’s going to be held accountable.”

Continuing on Trump’s candidacy, Hutchinson reiterated that Republicans are in a fight with this election for the soul of the Republican Party against a “nominee that cares more about himself than the common good.”

Longtime political strategist James Carville was also a guest speaker at the festival and shared his thoughts on the Democratic Party’s path towards 2024 against the threat of the Republicans and largely Trump’s potential candidacy, which Carville referred to as a “catastrophic event of the first order.”

Carville also appeared to be frustrated with the Democratic Party in general, especially the more left-wing side of the party, recently more focused on the pursuit for racial equity and cultural appropriation, stating that “no one wants to defund the … police.” 

After giving an example of what he thought of as individuals over-policing cultural appropriation, Carville stated, “It all became so idiotic. Most people have moved on from this.”

On the topic of President Joe Biden seeking reelection, Carville explained, “I wish [Biden] wouldn’t do this.”

He concluded, “I think we could find two [people] under 75 to run for president. The country is bursting at the seams to get a new generation in there.”

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