New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu provided perhaps the most damning review of former President Donald Trump’s campaign launch in 2024:
“You have a former president who is announcing he’s going to run again, and it’s the third story in the news,” Sununu told Drew Cline on WFEA radio Thursday morning. “It was a very mundane announcement, clearly made for his own self-directed purposes, and he made it at his weakest point politically. It’s a strange time to announce that you’re running for President.
“No one really cares,” Sununu said.
Mentioned as a possible POTUS nominee, Sununu was asked if he agreed with former Vice President Mike Pence that Republicans had better candidates to choose from than Trump in 2024.
“Of course we will have much better candidates in 2024. That doesn’t mean he can’t win the nomination – he could,” Sununu said. But he added that “the American spirit” is to move forward and not dwell on the past, a clear reference to President Trump’s obsession with the baseless conspiracy theory that he actually won the 2020 presidential election.
“There’s always a bank, someone with new ideas,” Sununu said. “We always try to bring something new.”
Regarding Trump, Sununu said the GOP approach should be “thank you for your service.”
“He made some good laws and had some good policies, he did that for four years. Now let’s move on – it’s as simple as that.”
About an hour later, Trump loyalist Corey Lewandowski was on the Pulse of New Hampshire radio show with a similar message: Trump’s obsession with 2020 is hurting his chances of winning in 2024.
“I am a big supporter of Donald Trump, he is the leader of our party, if he stays on this path he will probably become our nominee. But we have to put the 2020 elections behind us,” said Lewandowski.
At the same time, Lewandowski rose in Trump’s defense, fending off attempts to blame the former president for the GOP’s underwhelming performance in this year’s midterm elections. Lewandowski said it’s more about embracing the status quo than rejecting Trump’s nominees.
“It is the first time since 1904 that every incumbent US senator and governor who ran for office has been re-elected,” Lewandowski said. “Voters just wanted to stick with people they knew.”
And he reminded the naysayers who declared Trump’s 2024 campaign dead upon his arrival that Republicans have seen this show before.
“There will always be people who don’t like Donald Trump’s style of politics, people who tell us we need to nominate someone like Mitt Romney,” Lewandowski said. “We see how that worked out.”
Lewandowski was also in the New York Times Thursday morning in an article headlined “Key Allies Away From Trump:”
Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, a Republican often mentioned as a potential 2024 nominee, said she doesn’t think Mr. Trump offers the party “the best shot” in 2024.
“If we narrow our focus on that, we’re not talking to every single American,” Ms. Noem said in an interview while sitting across from her political adviser Corey Lewandowski, formerly campaign manager, at a mahogany table part of Mr. Trump’s 2016 bid “Our job isn’t just to talk to people who love or hate Trump. Our job is to talk to every single American.”
According to published reports, Trump and his team are unhappy with the response to his announcement. His communications team sent out a series of press releases on Thursday announcing the confirmations he had received. But they came from less than impressive sources like failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and the New York City Young Republican Club.
Regardless, say Trump supporters. His fans stick with him.
“He still has his base,” says Seth Weathers, a Georgia-based former political strategist and early Trump supporter. “The Republicans who are ranting about him running are the very same people who hated him until he became a GOP nominee in 2016.”
“The Republican speaking heads worried about his candidacy are the same people who hated him in 2015 and then pretended to support him when it became profitable.”
“Nothing changes,” Weathers added.