Sununu on Trump roast at Gridiron dinner: ‘It’s all a joke’

Associated Press/Holly Ramer
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu announces that he is seeking a fourth term as governor of New Hampshire, instead of running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, during a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Concord, N.H.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said Monday that his comments about former President Trump at the Gridiron Club dinner were a joke after the remarks mocking the ex-president made headlines.

Sununu skewered Trump at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday evening, calling the former president “f—— crazy” and joking that if he were put in a mental institution “he ain’t getting out,” according to multiple reports citing individuals who attended the event.

The event is known for featuring roasts and skits knocking politicians and other figures.

Sununu stressed the comedic nature of the event during an interview with Chris Ryan of NH Today Monday morning, saying he was being facetious when delivering his roast.

“It’s all a joke. Look, I don’t think he’s crazy. It’s all a joke,” Sununu said.

“It’s all in fun, it’s all a joke, and anyone who’s trying to make this to be more than it is either seriously doesn’t understand what the Gridiron dinner is all about, or just has to, you know, like I said, lighten up a little bit, get a sense of humor. And understand, we have serious jobs; I take my job incredibly seriously. I think we’ve done a great job in New Hampshire, but you can’t take yourself too seriously,” he added.

The governor said people have to “have a little bit of humility.”

“I probably got insulted more than anybody and joked about more than anybody in that room. I’m not crying about it. It’s funny, move on,” he added.

Every president has addressed the Gridiron Club dinner for more than a century, including Trump. Biden, however, skipped this year’s event, instead recording a video for the dinner.

“I get the sense even if I’m not at the dinner,” Biden said, according to The Washington Post, “I’m going to be on the menu.”

Sununu supported Trump in both his 2016 and 2020 bids for the White House, but he has recently been more willing to break with the former president. The governor, for example, dismissed Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Sununu’s name has been tossed around as a potential GOP candidate for the 2024 presidential election. In November he announced that he would not mount a bid for Senate, instead opting to seek another term as governor.

In February, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the ex-president gave him the task of finding a primary challenger to take on Sununu.

Sununu on Monday said he also took shots at his father and White House press secretary Jen Psaki at Saturday’s dinner.

Pressed on if his comments Saturday night were a way to push back further on Trump, Sununu again emphasized that the event was comedic in nature.

“Look, if you think that I’m trying to make some sort of serious political statement at a roast, you don’t understand politics,” Sununu said.

“That makes no sense at all, it really doesn’t. We’re just, we’re down there to have fun. The goal is — they’re very clear, they say, ‘Look, you got to be pretty self-deprecating on yourself and Republicans, you can go after Democrats and the press, of course,’” he added.

Sununu said the evening was “a heck of a lot of fun” and “awesome.”

Cate Martel contributed to this report.

Tags Chris Sununu Gridiron Club Gridiron Dinner

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