Former Republican New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu criticized Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday for promulgating policies so far outside the mainstream that even his own party is becoming frustrated.
“He really is desperate at this point and will say just about anything to get a headline,” Sununu told Fox News host Bill Hemmer. “You gave him a headline and so he will probably continue to say silly things like that that will irritate both his Democrats and the Republicans.”
Sununu’s remarks were in reference to comments that O’Rourke made during the Democratic National Committee’s third presidential primary debate on Thursday. While participating in the event, the former Texas congressman declared that if he were to be elected president, he would seize certain firearms from law-abiding citizens.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said at the time. “We are not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
While the declaration received massive cheers from the left-wing audience, many of his fellow Democrats swiftly distanced themselves from the anti-Second Amendment calls.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who serves in the House Democratic leadership, stated over the weekend that there is no basis for Americans’ worries that Democrats are proposing gun confiscation. He added that O’Rourke’s message “doesn’t help” the party.
“Well, it just confirms that Beto O’Rourke has slipped into the role of the immature pest that even the Democrats want out of the process,” Sununu responded to Cicilline.
Sununu, the former White House chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush, also slammed the Democratic leadership for refusing to back any legislation aimed at reducing gun violence unless part of its own left-wing agenda was also passed.
“This morning we made it clear to the president that any proposal he endorses that does not include the House-passed universal background checks legislation will not get the job done, as dangerous loopholes still exist and people who should not have guns will still get access,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a statement.
Schumer and Pelosi’s pressure campaign comes as a bipartisan delegation has been working on crafting a gun control legislative package, which reportedly includes expanding background checks and provisions dealing with mental health issues. It is unclear if the proposal will ultimately include universal background checks that would place additional burdens on private sales.
“I find it interesting that as soon as word got out that Democratic senators and Republican senators were getting close on a compromise, Pelosi and Schumer decide to draw a line in the sand which they know will make it extremely difficult to get to a piece of legislation,” Sununu said. “I think it underscores the fact that Democrats would rather talk about this issue than get any legislation passed.”
“I think that everybody, Republicans and Democrats, should demand a test on whatever is proposed and explain how whatever legislation they’re going to support would have dealt with the reality of the tragedies that have occurred over the past few years,” he continued. “The fact is that even universal background checks would not have had much of an impact at all because most of those guns were either acquired legally through a background check, or stolen, or some other nefarious way.”