“Donald Trump has played this victim card wonderfully over the past year,” Chris Sununu said.
Removing Donald Trump from the ballot in Maine does turn the former president into a martyr, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu concurred Sunday.
“Do you agree with some of the Republicans, even Chris Christie, for example, who argue that taking him off the ballot — or at least trying to — makes Donald Trump a martyr?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Sunday on “State of the Union.”
“Of course! Donald Trump has played this victim card wonderfully over the past year. Nothing on policy, nothing on the future of America, but that victimization thing, which — the irony there is just incredible, frankly,” Sununu said.
Sununu, a rare, long-time Republican critic of Trump, has made it his mission to keep the former president from winning the nomination in 2024. He’s thrown his support behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, boosting her with his endorsement and joining her on the campaign trail she crisscrosses the key early voting state.
Though keeping Trump off the ballot could open a lane for Haley or another GOP primary candidate to pick up more delegates, Sununu said Sunday that it would only serve to amplify Trump’s claims that he’s being targeted.
“This would only boost his opportunity to play that victim card down the road as we hit the primaries. It’s not helpful at all and I just don’t think it’s right. I think, again, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely overturn both of these challenges and we can all move on with him on the ballot in all 50 states,” Sununu said.
The decision by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to eject Trump from the ballot — on the grounds that he engaged in insurrection for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, putting his candidacy in violation of the 14th Amendment — intensified an already fiery legal debate and drove criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, including at least one within in her home state. Colorado’s Supreme Court had also booted Trump from the ballot.
Sununu joined the chorus of critics Sunday.
“Look, if there was any validity about keeping Trump off a ballot, you would see 48 other states trying to do the same thing. Personally, I think this was very politically motivated by the Maine secretary of state. Trump should be on the ballot. Everybody understands that,” he said.