Sununu told NBC’s Meet the Press that New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary is not ‘make or break’ for Haley after a poll released on Sunday shows her trailing former President Donald Trump by 19 percentage points.
The Granite State governor and top campaign surrogate also questioned whether Trump is mentally fit to serve another White House term after he appeared to confuse Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
New Hampshire voters are heading to the polls Tuesday, January 23 for the first-in-the-nation Republican primary election following Iowa‘s caucuses earlier this month.
Nikki Haley is looking to perform better in New Hampshire after a disappointing third-place finish in Iowa with 19.1 percent of the vote.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said his preferred candidate Nikki Haley doesn’t need to win in the Granite State in order to earn the Republican presidential nomination
Haley questioned whether Trump is mentally fit to serve after he seemed to confuse her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during rally remarks in New Hampshire over the weeend
A few polls earlier this month put Haley within one-digit of Trump and one even put them in a dead tie with 40 percent each. Sununu says this is already a big feat with Trump’s massive lead and hold over GOP voters and says even coming within the former president in Tuesday’s election would be a massive win.
‘Is this make or break for her to stay in this race?’ NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker asked Sununu during a Sunday morning interview.
‘No, no. She doesn’t have to win,’ Sununu replied. ‘I mean, look, nobody goes from single digits in December to ‘you absolutely have to win’ in January. I think that’s a media expectation that’s being set out there.’
‘The fact that it can happen at all, right? Trump said he was going to run the table and win all 50 states. And everyone said, ‘Yep, it’s a done deal.’ It’s not a done deal,’ he added. ‘She’s challenging him here, and now she, again, gets to go to her home state where she’s won a lot before, she knows how to do it on the ground.’
He said that Haley has a while until the primary in South Carolina, where she served as the first female governor from 2011-2017 before joining Trump’s administration as his Ambassador to the United Nations. She has not ruled out running on the 2024 ticket as Trump’s vice presidential candidate.
Sununu claims that in the weeks before South Carolina, Haley can make up ground even if she doesn’t perform well in New Hampshire or Nevada.
‘Nikki’s going to have a lot of time to build on the momentum she’s already created,’ he insisted.
In an argument against Trump’s candidacy, Sununu said he agrees with Haley when saying Trump is no longer fit to serve as president.
‘Is Donald Trump mentally fit to serve as president?’ Welker asked.
‘Look, whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump, either one get off the teleprompter, they can barely make a cogent point,’ Sununu replied.
She pushed: ‘So is Trump mentally fit? You’re saying he’s not?’
‘Not in that moment, he sure as heck wasn’t,’ Sununuy said. ‘I mean, look, the point is you have two nearly 80-year-olds fighting this thing out. That’s not what America wants. That is a great example of – this is not Donald Trump, the disruptor of 2016.’
‘This guy has lost his fastball. You know, that’s a great example of it,’ the New Hampshire governor said. ‘We always want to go forward in America, right? We always want that next generation. Neither of these guys represent the next generation.’
During a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, Trump touted his mental fitness
During a rally in New Hampshire, Trump appeared to confuse Haley with Pelosi in talking about the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
‘By the way, they never report the crowd on January 6. You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley – did you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything. Deleted it, destroyed all of it – all of it – because of lots of things,’ Trump said to thousands of his supporters.
‘Like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people – soldiers, National Guard soldiers – whatever she wanted.’
It appears Trump meant to reference Pelosi, who was House Speaker at the time of the riots at the U.S. Capitol and who the former president has repeatedly blamed for being in charge of security that day.
Haley tried to downplay her criticism of Trump, but did say that the latest gaffe is proof the 77-year-old is not fit to serve any longer.
‘I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this,’ Haley said Saturday while campaigning in New Hampshire.
‘I wasn’t even in DC on January 6. I wasn’t in office then,’ she added. ‘They’re saying he got confused, that he was talking about something else, he was talking about Nancy Pelosi. He mentioned me multiple times in that scenario.’