Sununu, Guinta Disavow Trump's Comments But Stand By His Candidacy

Oct 10, 2016

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hours after a 2005 recording of Donald Trump was made public last week, in which the Republican presidential nominee boasted in explicit terms about groping women, Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu issued a one-sentence statement:  “Mr. Trump’s comments are repugnant, unacceptable and offensive.”

But when it comes to supporting Trump as president, Sununu’s campaign says nothing has changed. He still plans to back Trump as the Republican party’s nominee.

The same goes for Rep. Frank Guinta, who also denounced Trump’s comments as unacceptable and also still plans to support Trump moving forward, according to his campaign.

Sununu and Guinta’s continued allegiance to Trump stands in contrast to Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who was one of a number of prominent Republicans to rescind support in recent days specifically because of the comments revealed in the newly released recordings.

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper, meanwhile, says he’s still making up his mind about what he’s going to do on Nov. 8. While Jasper says this isn’t the first time he’s been disappointed in Trump’s comments, he says the nature of the statements in the tape that resurfaced were fundamentally different.

“It’s one thing to call people names. And I think that’s been a huge problem for me, the way he has treated women in his comments,” Jasper said. “This time he actually said that he had took specific actions – I see an attractive woman, I just kiss her, and I just grab her, and they let you do that because you’re famous. And that took it to a whole different level.”

Referring to the most recent debate, Jasper said he was disappointed that it took several questions from the moderator for Trump to say that he didn’t do the things he was describing in the tapes.

“Last night, it took Anderson Cooper three times to get Trump to actually say, no, I’ve never done those things,” Jasper added. “So obviously that’s somewhat concerning that it took him that long to even say no, I haven’t done that.”

Still, Jasper isn’t ruling out the possibility of still voting for Trump – if he “shows that he’s not the person he showed himself to be in that tape.” He knows he’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton, but he’s also leaving open the possibility of not voting for any presidential candidate at all, depending on what additional revelations about Trump might emerge in the next month.

But New Hampshire Democrats say these latest comments should be more than enough to get Republicans to disavow Trump – singling out Sununu, in particular.

Representative Cindy Rosenwald, of Nashua, said there have been plenty of incidents before now that should have given Sununu pause.

“What is repugnant is that you stood with Donald Trump when he attacked a Gold Star family whose son died fighting to defend this country. What is offensive is that you stood with Donald Trump after he launched a racist attack against a federal judge. And what is unacceptable is that you support a man who mocked people with disabilities,” Rosenwald said at a press conference organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party in Concord Monday morning. “None of these actions, which are repugnant for a private citizen let alone a presidential candidate caused Trump to lose Chris Sununu’s support.”

Sununu, in response, said he was disappointed by the tenor of the political conversation driven by both Clinton and Trump – and that he would continue to focus on his gubernatorial campaign “despite desperate attempts to distract from serious issues.”