Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said he’d support Donald Trump if he were the GOP nominee in an interview Monday.
“If he’s the nominee, I’m a Republican and I tend to gravitate towards whomever the nominee is,” Huntsman said on David Axelrod’s “The Axe Files.”
Since failing to gain the Republican nomination in 2012, the former governor has been involved with the No Labels political organization. The group has four goals: creating 25 million jobs over the next ten years, securing Social Security and Medicare, balancing the federal budget by 2030, and making America energy secure by 2024.
Huntsman is considered a moderate Republican. Despite this persuasion, he likes certain parts of Trump’s platform, specifically his stance on campaign finance reform.
He said, “He’s strong on things like campaign finance reform and I think it’s going to take an extraordinarily unique leader to stand up and say that the way that we’re doing this on the campaign finance side is broken and we need to fix it.”
The former Utah governor continued on to say Trump is, “right about bringing aboard a new generation of the best and the brightest and wiping out the old Washington establishment and the old Washington culture.”
“He’s nationalistic, he’s populist. He’s got the old Buchanan, Perot approach to the world. Which is to say build here first — and I think he’s absolutely right. And that’s one of the problems we have today, we have a very weak infrastructure in this country — literally and figuratively.”
Huntsman thinks that demographic change is the main driver behind the current state of the GOP presidential primary.
He told Axelrod, “It’s almost like we are seeing a new party that is being born before our very eyes… The Republican Party is morphing into something that doesn’t at all resemble what it has been in the last many election cycles. And I think it’s a direct outgrowth of the demographics that underlie the Republican movement and what has happened to people in the last generation in terms of the economy, in terms of how they feel about where the country sits vis a vis the rest of the world, and their own sense of security.”
While former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been floated as a possible third-party candidate this fall, Huntsman doesn’t see that realistically occurring.
“He’s going to look at the barriers that stand in the way of actually getting it done, like the electoral college system, like the difficulty in getting ballot access to all 50 states which is an enormous hurdle for an independent to get over, and probably the exclusive nature of the presidential debates themselves, which pretty much cater to the duopoly, red and blue, Republican and Democrat,” said Huntsman.
Huntsman was ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011 while Clinton was serving as secretary of state and said, “If people could see her as I saw her when she was in the trenches in some pretty difficult circumstances representing the United States, they would think differently about her.”
Regarding trade deals with China, he argued, “I don’t think we’ve been as engaged as we should be, there’s a lot we’ve left on the table.”