New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said Sunday that Democrats might have been successful in getting major legislation through Congress if they had spent more time reaching across the aisle than beating up on members of their own party.
Sununu, a Republican, joined CNN anchor Dana Bash for a morning interview on “State of the Union,” and argued that President Joe Biden might have made more headway if he had used his relationships with Republicans in the Senate to greater effect.
Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) says Democrats spent too much time “beating up Senators Sinema and Manchin.” pic.twitter.com/I4cmqE6v4w
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Bash began the segment by playing a clip of Biden quoting Sununu at his recent press conference.
“Here is what he said. They’re all, for the most – quote, ‘They are all for the most part content with the speed with which they weren’t doing anything. So I’m just going to be a roadblock for the next two years? That’s not what I do,’ Sununu said,” Biden quoted.
“The president went on to say that Republicans don’t stand for anything other than obstruction right now. Do you agree with him?” Bash asked.
“Well, I don’t appreciate the president using my words out of context, a little bit,” Sununu objected.
“Why was it out of context?” Bash pressed.
“Because I’ve been critical of both sides of the aisle, all 100 senators,” Sununu replied.
“It doesn’t mean you weren’t critical –” Bash pushed back but Sununu interrupted.
“Oh, no, I’m critical of everyone. Democrats were a roadblock for four years with President Trump. Republicans are trying to stop a lot of things which I fundamentally disagree with in terms with – I think it’s good they stop certain things to be sure,” Sununu explained.
“When you called around, when you were deciding whether you wanted to run for Senate, which is the context here, you did hear from your fellow Republicans –” Bash pivoted to ask Sunni about the possibility that he might run for Senate.
“There weren’t any Democrats calling me to ask me to run for Senate, to be fair,” Sununu laughed.
“No. But they were saying we just have to hold the line for two years. That’s what you opposed. You didn’t want to be part of that,” Bash continued.
“I think the frustration that Republican senators have is that when you are in the majority party, you have the responsibility of reaching over the aisle,” Sununu pushed back, arguing that despite his claims of being a uniter and a deal-maker, Biden had not come through with results on that front. “I think President Biden – I sure as heck didn’t vote for him. But we all wanted him to come in and use those relationships with the Republican senators he had, reach across the aisle, find consensus and really build some bipartisanship that we haven’t seen in a long time. Zero.”
“Not zero. The infrastructure bill,” Bash objected.
“Thanks to the Republicans forcing it,” Sununu shot back. “To be fair, if the Democrat Party spent as much time trying to reach across the aisle with a couple Republicans as they did beating up Senators Sinema and Manchin, we would have gotten something done. But they spent all their time tearing apart their own party as opposed to saying okay, who are the couple of Republicans we can work with here, where can we trim things back? That’s what America wants, and I think I’m expressing the same frustration that most Americans have.”