Jun 8, 2016 11:48 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Chris Sununu called Donald Trump’s controversial comments “deplorable,” but says he’s still supporting the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
And the three-term executive councilor and Republican gubernatorial candidate said he hadn’t “seen anything that’s given me any more confidence” that the federal government can properly screen refugees from war torn Syria trying to enter the United States.
Sununu also said he has no plans to file his campaign fundraising report until mid-August, when he’s required by state law to reveal his numbers. And he also touted his experience running a big business as something that sets him apart from his rivals for the Corner Office.
Sununu made his comments as he took questions Wednesday from reporters, minutes after filing his candidacy for governor.
Asked about Trump’s questioning of the impartiality of a federal judge overseeing the Trump University trial because of the Indiana born judge’s Mexican heritage, Sununu said “they are deplorable comments, absolutely deplorable. I don’t condone anything like that.”
The comments by Trump have been heavily criticized by many top Republicans, including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who labeled them racist in nature.
Sununu said Trump “absolutely” owes the judge an apology.
“One thing my mother taught me. Manners first. Manners first. I mean you can have a disagreements with people. You cannot like where, whether it’s personal or business or politics. Manners first. I mean you’ve got to treat people with respect. Just because someone disagrees with you, you don’t like the action’s they’ve taken, it doesn’t call for words like that, ever,” Sununu added.
But Sununu went on to say “I’ve always said I would support the nominee. Donald Trump is the nominee and I’m a firm believer that we do need to stand behind the nominee, especially on the Republican side. To me the alternative would be disastrous for this country, really disastrous. So I’m standing behind him and hope he does well.”
There were around 10 Democratic demonstrators, holding Trump/Sununu signs and cutout pictures of Trump, just outside the Secretary of State’s office as Sununu arrived and departed for his filing.
A firm no on Syrian refugees
Following the Paris terrorist attacks last November, Gov. Maggie Hassan made headlines in becoming the only Democratic governor in the country to call for a temporary ban on Syrian refugees into New Hampshire until the federal vetting process “is as strong as possible” to make sure the American people stay safe.
Monday, as she filed her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Hassan said that she felt communication between federal agencies and the states taking in some of the Syrian refuges had improved. But Hassan, questioned repeatedly by reporters, wouldn’t say if her position had changed.
Tuesday night Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, a rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, said he’d use every tool possible as governor to stop Syrian refugees from entering the Granite State until satisfied that security would be guaranteed.
Sununu said “I haven’t seen anything (from federal agencies) that’s given me any more confidence.”
“You gotta be able to have the proper safeguards in place. We don’t have that right now in this country. I think we should make it a priority to enhance those safeguards, whether they’re political refugees from Syria or just folks coming into the country. We have to have the proper safe guards. Health and safety is first and foremost responsibility of the government,” he added.
Sununu said “as governor, my first call to the federal government is if you’re going to give us mandates and programs, if you’re going to send these refugees to us, you better ensure to us and provide some sort of guarantee to us that these folks have been properly vetted appropriately. Because right now they just can’t do that. It would be very unwise for anybody to just sit back and let the federal government send these refugees into the state.”
Asked if he’d feel comfortable as governor allowing Syrian refugees into the state, Sununu said “until they can show us that they can be properly vetted, no.”
Top state Senate Republican backs Sununu
Two Democratic candidates for governor, Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and former state Rep, Mark Connolly severed nearly a decade as the state’s top financial watchdog, both announced they would report their campaign cash figures in mid-June, two months early.
Asked if that’s something he’d entertain, Sununu told NH1 News “no, the law says we file in August. So I plan to follow the law and file in August when we’re supposed to.:
State Sen. Jeanie Forrester and state Rep. Frank Edelblut join Sununu and Gatsas in running for the GOP nomination.
Sununu, who’s chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Resort, which employs some 700 employees, said “I’m the only candidate who lives and breathes these issues that we’re discussing here today every single day, whether it’s with my family, whether it’s with my employees, whether it’s in the North Country or living down on the Seacoast. We need someone who has regional perspective in this state.”
“I deal with these issues every single day as a manager, as a stakeholder. We haven’t had anyone with that kind of background in the Corner Office in quite some time and that’s why we’ve been stagnated,” Sununu continued.
As he filed his candidacy, Sununu was joined by state Senate President Chuck Morse.
The Republican from Salem officially endorsed Sununu, saying in a statement that “he’ll be a partner with our Republican Senate as we continue to work on issues such as transportation, energy, and creating a climate where our people and businesses can prosper.”
State Senate President Chuck Morse stands behind Executive Councilor Chris Sununu as Sununu takes questions from reporters following his filing of candidacy for governor, on June 8, 2016
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