Republican rivals circle around ‘low energy’ Trump
Donald Trump’s deepening legal woes have rendered him a far less compelling candidate for president, Republican rival Chris Sununu has warned, as several top GOP figures spoke out against the former reality TV star’s campaign for re-election to the White House on Sunday.
“This is not the Donald Trump of 2016, don’t fool yourself,” New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu – a noted Trump critic – said during an interview with ABC on Sunday. “He doesn’t have the energy, he doesn’t have the fastball.”
Sununu, who is not running for president in 2024, added that Trump’s candidacy effectively boils down to him “droning on for 90 minutes in his long-form speeches about his legal battles, as opposed to talking about the future of the country.”
Polling data indicates that Trump tops the list of Republican contenders vying to challenge presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden next year, even as the former president remains mired in various legal issues.
However, Sununu suggests that Trump’s consistent claims of witch-hunts and political persecutions are beginning to sound hollow. “Ever seen a soap opera?” he said to ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “They get kind of boring. The only thing worse is the re-run of the soap opera. And that is what he is bringing.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also joined in on the Trump pile-on. Speaking to CNN while referencing Trump’s federal indictment for allegedly illegally retaining classified government documents at his Florida estate and the subsequent claims of obstruction of justice, Christie said that “these guys were acting like the Corleones with no experience.”
Trump is also heavily linked to a separate federal indictment linked to his actions ahead of the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol. He denies all wrongdoing.
Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate 40 years Trump’s junior, also spoke to CNN on Sunday but said that, should Trump be convicted in the classified documents case, he would move to pardon the former president from what he described as a “politicized prosecution.”
Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley toed a similar line on CBS on Sunday. Trump’s alleged actions, if proven true, were “incredibly dangerous to our national security” but that a presidential pardon under her administration could be in the best interests of the country.
However, addressing the charges against Trump – and perhaps even the ex-president himself – Haley added that “we have to move forward. We’ve got to quit living in the past.”
And in comments seemingly aimed at Ramaswamy’s apparent fealty to Trump, Haley added that “anybody who promises pardons during a presidential campaign is not serving our system of justice well.”