New Hampshire governor ‘embarrassed’ by crowd’s behavior at Trump town hall
The governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, said it was “embarrassing” that Republican voters from his state laughed and applauded when Donald Trump mocked E Jean Carroll during a CNN town hall this week.
Sununu may yet have to court such voters in a presidential run of his own.
Nonetheless, the governor said the town hall audience’s behavior “doesn’t shine a positive light on New Hampshire”.
In New York on Tuesday, a jury in a civil case found Trump liable for sexual battery and defamation regarding a 1996 assault in a New York department store changing room which Carroll described in a book in 2019. The former president was ordered to pay about $5m in damages.
Regardless, at Wednesday’s CNN event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump said he had “no idea who the hell” Carroll was and called her a “whack job”.
He also said he “had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy, John Johnson. He was a newscaster, very nice man. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape – the judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in. Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in.”
Audience members laughed.
Trump continued: “What kind of a woman meets somebody, brings him up and within minutes you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, OK? I don’t know if she was married then or not. John Johnson, I feel sorry for you, John Johnson.”
A lawyer for Carroll has said she was considering suing again.
Sununu, a relatively moderate in a party dominated by Trump and the far right, has said he will decide on a presidential run by June.
He was speaking to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary turned MSNBC host, in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday.
“As the camera pans through that audience, I knew pretty much everybody,” the governor said. “They’re all Trump supporters. So the audience was absolutely filled with Trump supporters. So I wasn’t surprised to hear the support.
“But when you’re talking about a serious issue like that, and laughter and mocking and all that, it’s completely embarrassing, without a doubt, and it doesn’t shine a positive light on New Hampshire.”
The audience for the CNN event was always meant to be Republican but Sununu said “almost all” who attended voted for Trump in 2016, 2020 or both.
“I believe every single one of them have voted for Trump at some point,” he said. “So I don’t know … how [CNN] determined that and set that up but obviously it was a room full of Trump supporters. So no one should have been surprised to hear the support.
“But again, on that issue, I would call it embarrassing.”
If Sununu does enter the Republican primary he will be an outside bet in a race dominated by Trump despite his unprecedented legal jeopardy.
New Hampshire will hold the first Republican primary. Polling there follows the national pattern in putting Trump more than 20 points ahead of Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who has not yet declared a run.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Sununu generally places third in his own state, at around 11 points, more than 36 behind Trump.
Source: UK Guardian