RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Lt. Governor Winsome Sears broke with former President Donald Trump on Thursday, saying she would not support him if he decides to run for president again.

“I could not support him, I just couldn’t,” Sears said during an interview on Fox News.

Sears was once a close ally of Trump, serving as chair of “Black Americans to Re-elect President Trump.” But her support for the former president seemed to wane last year, when she cancelled an appearance at Trump’s “Take Back Virginia” rally in October 2021, following the lead of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who also snubbed the event.

“It was definitely a surprise today to hear her make those comments,” said 8News political analyst, Rich Meagher. “Is this a bold politician coming out and making a principled stand against a popular figure in their party or is this a political operator looking ahead to her political future and starting to move chess pieces around the board.”

When asked by a Fox News host why she no longer supported Trump, Sears told him that several key electoral defeats of Trump-backed candidates for the senate and governorships convinced her.

“The voters have spoken, and they’ve said that they want a different leader,” she said. “And a true leader understands when they have become a liability.”

Governor Glenn Youngkin has often been rumored as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 — spurred by his participation in campaign events for candidates in other states.

“If Governor Youngkin is no longer governor then Winsome Sears becomes governor,” Meagher said. “We do know that she is interested in running for governor in 2025.”