Anatomy of a Sununu press conference

As a former Democratic campaign staffer, I’ve had to watch more Sununu press conferences than anyone should have to. So here’s a little community service: “I watched Sununu’s press conferences so you don’t have to.” 

Governor Chris Sununu gives a press conference Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Who needs masks at a Trump rally?
  1. Sununu: So Selective About Social Media

He’s so digitally savvy! Oh, but he doesn’t have TIME to read Trump’s tweets, Sununu’s muuuuuch too busy with the groundbreaking new campaign that is the #HomeHikeChallenge. Lonely quarantine birthday for your kiddo? No worries, Gov. Chris will be spreading glad tidings and great cheer for all the children of New Hampshire by sending a birthday card, which is not at all a sneaky attempt at list-building that will surely benefit his running for a 3rd term as governor!

  1. Nothing is political

Sometimes, reporters will actually ask Sununu a tough question, like when Nancy West of In-Depth NH asked Governor Sununu if he thought it was fair that he gets multiple press conferences on COVID every week, aka substantially more free air time than any other candidate for governor. Answer: “Ninety-nine percent of what I do all day is non-political. That’s a political question!” Rings a little false when you kick off many press conferences with “just got off the phone with Mike Pence!” 

  1. Flexibility and opportunity

If your current quarantine unemployment, or work-from-home situation allows, this is a real one for the drinking games. When you reframe a lack of regulation as “flexibility and opportunity,” it sounds so good for everyone! Definitely everyone, not just the top 3% of businesses who Sununu wants to give a tax break! Who needs rules to keep us safe? Pandemic schmandemic! 

  1. The Classic Dad Joke

Whether it’s a crack about “gaining the….I think they call it the COVID-19” or making sure everyone saw your freezer-aisle bandana selfie, Sununu never misses an opportunity to play up the “chill Dad” angle. How many dad jokes does it take to cover up a record 57 vetoes of popular Democratic and bipartisan legislation, including paid family and medical leave, gender affirming birth certificates for transgender people, an independent redistricting commission, and net metering? No one knows, but Sununu’s sure hoping a liberal amount of dad jokes will keep his approval ratings high and make everyone forget that he’s a self-proclaimed “Trump guy, through and through!”

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