Ex ‘Never Trump’ U.S. Senator Now Back on The TRUMP Train

Ex ‘Never Trump’ U.S. Senator Now Back on The TRUMP Train

Former New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, who did not support then-GOP nominee Donald Trump in 2016, now declares her firm support for Trump.

Ayotte, running for governor in the highly contested Republican state along the deep-blue East Coast, shared her change of heart in an exclusive interview with Fox News.

“Under Joe Biden, things cost more, and we’re less safe. There’s no question that we are worse off than we were when President Trump was in office,” Ayotte told the outlet. “I’m supporting President Trump because I believe we need to change courses for the nation.”

For nearly all Republicans seeking office in 2024, backing the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, given his strong influence over the party, seems straightforward. For Ayotte, however, this alignment carries particularly significant implications.

In 2016, Ayotte was a rising star in the Republican Party, a former state attorney general and first-term senator with a burgeoning national security profile. She withdrew her support for Trump just before the 2016 election due to the “Access Hollywood” scandal, where Trump made extremely crude comments about grabbing women without their consent.

“I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” Ayotte said then. She narrowly lost her Senate re-election bid by about 1,000 votes to then-Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan.

Ayotte outperformed Trump in New Hampshire, with Hillary Clinton narrowly winning the state by less than 3,000 votes.

After her Senate term ended, Ayotte briefly stayed in Washington, D.C., to help guide Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, through his successful confirmation process before permanently moving back to New Hampshire.

Post-Senate, Ayotte found financial success serving on corporate boards and advisory roles for various public and private companies, including News Corp., formerly the parent company of Fox News.

Ayotte remained engaged in New Hampshire politics, attending Republican Party events and writing opinion pieces on major issues. Nearly a year ago, she announced her gubernatorial candidacy after popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu decided not to seek re-election in 2024 for what would have been his fifth term, as reported by Fox.

While Ayotte stayed neutral in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, she endorsed Trump in early March after he secured the GOP nomination.

“He’ll fix the disaster over the southern border, and we’re also seeing it on the northern border to keep the country safe,” Ayotte told Fox News. She added that Trump “has a different vision in terms of freedom and taxes” and argued that Biden “has really, unfortunately, been a disaster for the country, and we need a change.”

Ayotte currently leads in both polling and fundraising for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s early September primary. However, she faces significant criticism from her rival, former state Senate president Chuck Morse. Morse, who finished second in the 2020 U.S. Senate Republican primary, has been vocal against Ayotte in the race.

“I think there’s a big difference between myself and Kelly Ayotte,” Morse said last week when he filed to run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. “I started as a conservative, and I finished as a conservative as Senate president, and I promise you, I will be a governor that’s a conservative.”

Ayotte countered: “I am a commonsense, strong conservative, and I’m going to continue this state down the path that Gov. Sununu has. And we’re going to have even brighter days ahead.”

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