By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
Gov. Chris Sununu was peppered with questions about abortion, the current field of presidential candidates, former President Trump and more on the daytime show The View Thursday, with the segment ending with the audience booing his position on gun control.
“I live in the safest state in the country,” Sununu said.
“…So why are we having the mass shootings? It’s not because people have access to guns. It’s because we are not dealing with mental health. We don’t provide mental health access to kids. When people are in crisis they have nowhere to turn. They resort to violence. We don’t do the right things of locking down our schools…,” Sununu said and was interrupted when asked why he is holding on to his pro-gun stance.
“I’m not banning any guns,” Sununu said, which was met with booing from the audience. “I’m going to provide access to mental health. We are going to get to the core of the issue…”
Host Whoopi Goldberg interrupted to stop the booing.
“No. no booing…We need to talk to people to find out what they are thinking and are they thinking in the right way. He’s not going to be perfect. None of them are. But at least give people the opportunity to say what’s going on,” Goldberg said, concluding the segment.
The 48-year-old Republican, in his fourth term as New Hampshire governor, is exploring running for president.
Before making that decision, Sununu has said he needs to first focus on the state’s upcoming biennial budget negotiations, which will likely conclude in June, before deciding whether to throw his hat in the already crowded GOP ring.
Democrat first-term incumbent President Joe Biden has announced he plans to run for re-election.
Sununu spent the first three days of the week at a Republican women’s national event in Texas and Thursday in New York City but maintains no state funds are used for such trips – which are becoming increasingly more frequent – and that he is ready at all times to handle the business of governing the Granite State.
The View has about 2.3 million viewers and is the top-rated daytime talk show in America.
Host Goldberg, with Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Sara Haines, and Ana Navarro are the regulars on the show.
They have been working without the help of writers who have been part of a national strike for the past month, and they are supporting the writers while drafting their own scripts.
Sununu was asked about abortion by Behar who called him a “pro-choice” Republican and he agreed with the term.
Sununu said he believes the Supreme Court decision last year striking down Roe V. Wade and returning those decisions to the states is a good thing.
“Dobbs said states can make their choices so they are going to and that is a good thing in that the voters if they don’t like the choice in South Carolina they are going to fire the governor and the legislature, a lot easier to do than at the federal level,” Sununu said.
He said any Republican talking about a national abortion ban “is just screwing the party over altogether and I really mean it.”
Calling himself a “pro-choice” Republican has been a bone of contention in the state.
The state Democratic party issued a news release: “In another attempt to downplay his MAGA record, Chris Sununu falsely claimed to be ‘pro-choice’ on The View this morning. In reality, Sununu signed New Hampshire’s first modern abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest — and has repeatedly bragged about it…,” said NHDP spokesperson Aida Ross.
Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund released the following statement: “On ABC’s The View this morning, Governor Chris Sununu illustrated why he cannot be trusted when it comes to reproductive freedom: he says one thing, and does another.
“As rumors abound about Sununu’s potential presidential political ambitions, the interview was part of a national press blitz in which he is attempting to emphasize his ‘pro-choice’ bona fides – even though Sununu bragged just last year about doing ‘more on the pro-life issue…than anyone,’ in regards to signing New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history into law.”
Goldberg asked whether Sununu was OK with parents deciding what their kids should be reading and not the government.
“Parents come first, absolutely, end of the story,” Sununu said. “We’re all about local control.”
Asked about his meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who was in New Hampshire last week, he said he does things differently and would not lead with the cancel culture stuff.
“You can’t just be about the culture war. Right? This has to be about inflation…the worst tax on the poor you could ever create and it’s only government created, by the way,” Sununu said.
If they are not talking about mental health, economics, or opioids, they are missing the main message for Republicans, he said.
Can you have him stop attacking the transgender community? Sununu was asked about DeSantis.
“Good leaders shouldn’t be attacking anyone,” Sununu said to applause. “You should be raising people up. That’s what it’s all about.
“I want independents to get on the Republican team. I want young voters to get on…they want limited government, local control, low taxes, individual responsibility. I’m a pretty staunch principled fiscal conservative but everybody has a voice everyone has a view,” Sununu said.
Behar said Sununu has the same problem as DeSantis in that they cannot get away from Trump’s base of supporters.
He said the MAGA base is about 30 percent of Republicans and Trump is doing as well as he is with them because he is using “the victim card,” but said he can’t win.
“The media has allowed it to happen. Will that translate to a vote? no,” predicting Trump will lose in a general election.
But Sununu was criticized for voting for Trump in the past and saying he would vote for him if he is the Republican nominee.
“He wouldn’t win Georgia,” Sununu said and you cannot win the United States without that.
Sununu said the debates would be telling and he would love to debate Trump.
“We don’t know who can take a punch or give a punch. I think there will be other candidates that get in,” Sununu said.
He said he preferred a candidate with executive experience in decision-making, like a governor.
“The buck stops here. It’s not just policy. The policy is easy,” he said. “But who can stand up, negotiate, give a little to get a lot, work with both sides, come at it with a sense of compassion,” Sununu said.
He said you create flexibility in the system to get it done and that is good leadership.
Sununu said America wants leaders who are looking forward not back.