Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Trump was 'derelict in his duties' on January 6 and says he's 'thinking about' running for president in 2024

·2 min read
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at a hearing on Capitol Hill on June 22, 2021.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at a hearing on Capitol Hill on June 22, 2021.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
  • In an interview with The Washington Post, outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson ripped into Trump.

  • Jan. 6 committee hearings have made the case that Trump was "derelict in his duties" as president, he said.

  • Hutchinson also teased a 2024 presidential bid of his own, even as Trump is gears up for another campaign.

In a virtual interview with The Washington Post on Monday, outgoing Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas sharply rebuked former president Donald Trump and suggested he may challenge him in 2024.

Hutchinson is term-limited this year, and is likely to be succeeded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as Trump's White House press secretary.

Hutchinson called Trump "divisive" and criticized him for publicly teasing a 2024 presidential run before the 2022 midterms are over, arguing that the former president's brand hurts the party.

"It's not good for Republican candidates if Trump is the issue," he said. "If we get sidetracked on a personality that is as divisive as Donald Trump, then that does not bode well for the outcome in November."

"We're going to do well, I have no doubt about that," Hutchinson added. "But we lose ground whenever Donald Trump becomes the issue."

 

A former congressman, Hutchinson also echoed previous remarks where he said that Trump's conduct on January 6 is disqualifying, adding that he believes the recent spate of January 6 committee hearings have "had an impact" on Trump's standing.

"This should be a concern of every American," he said. "We had a president during that time that allowed that to go on and threatened the peaceful transfer of power."

Hutchinson added that he doesn't believe that the committee has adequately made the case for criminal charges against Trump, arguing that such charges require a "very high burden of proof" and that US Attorney General Merrick Garland has a "tough call" to make.

"I think they've made the case that he was irresponsible, he was derelict in his duties," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson also teased his own potential 2024 presidential bid, which would put him on a collision course with Trump.

"Obviously, I'm thinking about it," he said, adding that he wouldn't make a decision until "next January."

2024 is "so critical in terms of shaping the Republican Party," Hutchinson said. He also made the point that criticizing the former president doesn't make him a "moderate."

"People think that if you're not 100 percent pure behind Donald Trump, then somehow you're a moderate," he said. "My record is as conservative as anyone in the United States of America, but I am able to reach across the aisle to help and work to get things done."

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