Sununu says GOP hopefuls must ‘find separation’ from Trump: ‘They have to take it to him’

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) called on Republican presidential candidates to go on the offense against the GOP frontrunner, former President Trump.

“I think they have to take it to him,” Sununu said in an interview on The Hill on NewsNation Friday.

“They don’t have to go nuclear, like Chris [Christie] does… but everyone in their own way has to find separation from him,” he added. “Some of them are doing it, some of them aren’t.”

Sununu, the popular four-term governor who recently announced he will not seek another term after considering a presidential bid of his own, has been a fervent Trump critic.

The Hill Elections 2024 coverage

He said the candidates must stay serious about the race and understand when to drop out in order to keep up pressure on the former president.

“That’s the key, it’s not just attacking [Trump] but then finding out where your candidacy is, assessing it as we go through the fall and look, when the time to back out is there, you got to back out,” he said.

“If the number of candidates challenging Trump winnows down, especially if it’s one-on-one, he loses,” he added. “When you look at 8 or 9 candidates, it’s too much.”

The Republican governor said the race’s first primary debate on Wednesday night — which Trump did not attend — proved that a post-Trump Republican Party is possible. He said he was impressed by candidates who distinguished themselves from the former president, pointing out former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence.

“For the first time in six years we’ve seen leadership in the Republican Party without Donald Trump and it looked pretty good,” he said.

The party needs an alternative to Trump because he’s unlikely to win the 2024 election, Sununu said.

He also blamed the former president for Republican letdowns in the 2020 and 2022 elections.

“I’m opposed to him because he can’t win. I want winners,” he said. “Why would we do this a fourth time and expect a different result?”

Trump holds a sizable lead in primary polling, taking about 52 percent support according to national polling averages.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.