Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says he’s considering challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for President — and that the Republican Party’s recent losses are more about certain candidates than the party’s ideals.
Hutchinson, who stands out as one of a handful of Republican elected officials who spoke against Trump during his time as president, was cautious in his criticism, but did describe Trump as an agent of chaos.
He said that Trump, who appointed him to a two-year term on the Council of Governors, being a “known quantity” now will change things up.
With regard to “Trumpism” as a movement, encompassing the vindictive and hateful behavior within the GOP, Hutchinson acknowledged that the party has a battle to fight within. He’s very clear, though, that it’s something that must be faced and overcome, replaced with ideas and “a problem-solving approach.”
Seeming to strive for a midpoint between bashing MAGA and embracing Trump, he says it’s important to acknowledge good things Trump did as President (although he doesn’t name any), but describes another Trump term as “turn[ing] the party over to the past.” He also concludes that the former president is “not the kind of leadership that’s good for America.
Hutchinson told CNN:
You’ve got a former president that’s got a very loyal following, you’ve got a bellicose part of our party, and we’ve got to compete, with ideas, with the tone, with the problem-solving approach. I’d like to think that wins, but we have to see, and it’s going to be that internal struggle, and you can’t shy away from it.
Hutchinson is term-limited, and in January will turn over his seat to Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He says he isn’t making any formal decisions until January, when his third term comes to an end.
Trump has already lashed out at another presumed (though not announced) primary opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, suggesting that to run against him would be disloyal and ungrateful.
As Hutchinson alluded to, Trump’s 2016 campaign was characterized by personal attacks on opponents, insults, and name-calling. However, he’s hinted that sharing inside dirt on an opponent — specifically DeSantis — is in the cards for this new round.
See the video below:
Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s considering a 2024 run and sees January as “a decision point.” He doesn’t think a crowded GOP field benefits Trump like it did in 2016. “He’s a known quantity now and I don’t think there’s going to be anything different in his approach.” pic.twitter.com/cL76rndweu
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 17, 2022