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ABC’s Stephanopoulos clashes with GOP governor over support for Trump in heated interview

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ABC News host George Stephanopoulos clashed with GOP New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu over his support for Donald Trump on Sunday in a heated debate over the Republican governor’s past condemnation of the former president. 

Sununu, who endorsed Haley in the GOP primary until she dropped out, said in March he would endorse Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, in the presidential election. Stephanopoulos asked if his support for Trump would continue if he’s convicted in the hush money case.

“This trial is not going to have major political ramifications that a lot of people think it may have. When it comes to these issues, people see it more as reality TV at this point,” Sununu replied. “He’ll try to victimize it, and that has worked for him. This has been going on for over a year, and his poll numbers never seem to go down because of the issue.”

Stephanopoulos insisted he was asking Sununu about right and wrong, rather than politics, and asked multiple times if he would be “swayed” by a conviction. 

George Stephanopoulos and Chris Sununu

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu joined ABC’s Stephanopoulos on Sunday for an interview about his support for Donald Trump. (Left: Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images), Right: (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME))

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Sununu argued that the cases against Trump were not going to sway the American public and said it shouldn’t be surprising that a Republican governor was endorsing the Republican nominee for president. 

“Wait a second. Your words were very, very clear on January 11, 2021. You said his rhetoric and actions contributed to the insurrection. No other president in history has contributed to an insurrection. Please explain, given the fact you believe he contributed to an insurrection, how you can say we should have him back in the Oval Office?” Stephanopoulos asked. 

The GOP governor also said it was less about Trump but more about support for a Republican administration. 

“That doesn’t make any sense to me, governor. I’m sorry. You’re saying it’s not about Trump. He would be the president, and he’s somebody who contributed to an insurrection,” Stephanopoulos said. 

GOP Gov. Sununu

Gov. Chris Sununu defended his support for Donald Trump on Sunday during a heated back and forth with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.  (Screenshot/ABC/ThisWeek)

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Sununu responded and said 51% of the U.S. was supporting Trump and added, “they’re not crazy.”

“I understand it doesn’t make sense to you, George, but look at the polls. What you are telling me is you don’t understand why 51% of this country is supporting Donald Trump. They’re not crazy. They’re not MAGA conservatives. They’re not extremists. They want culture change,” he said. 

Stephanopoulos questioned Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., in March over her support for the president as well. The ABC News host asked how she squared her support for the GOP president with the fact that she was a rape victim. 

Stephanopoulos pushed back again, and said he wasn’t talking about polls. 

“I’m asking you a very simple question. You believe Donald Trump contributed to an insurrection. That’s correct, right?” he said. 

“I stand by the statement,” Sununu responded. Stephanopoulos asked again how he could support Trump.

George Stephanopoulos

ABC host George Stephanopoulos questioned Gov. Chris Sununu’s support for Donald Trump during “This Week” on Sunday. (Screenshot/ABC/ThisWeek)

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“As does 51% of America, George,” Sununu replied. “I mean, really, I understand you’re part of the media. I understand you’re in this New York City bubble or whatever it is. But you’ve got to look around at what’s happening across this country. It’s not about just supporting Trump. It’s getting rid of what we have today. It’s about understanding inflation is crushing families. It’s understanding that this border issue is not a Texas issue. It’s a 50 state issue, right? That has to be brought under control. It’s about that type of elitism that the average American is just sick and tired of. And it’s a culture change. That’s what I’m supporting.”

Sununu said it was about “up and down the ballot,” and told the ABC News host that Americans were not “relitigating January 6th.”

“So just to sum up, you would support him for president even if he was convicted in classified documents. You would support him for president, even if though you believe he contributed to an insurrection. You support him for president even though you believe he’s lying about the last election. You’d support him for president even if he’s convicted in the Manhattan case. I just want to say the answer is yes, correct?” 

“Yeah me and 51% of America,” Sununu responded. 

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