Asa Hutchinson announces presidential bid, says Trump should withdraw from race
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is running for president in 2024, he said Sunday.
“I am going to be running. And the reason, as I've traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country, and I'm convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts,” Hutchinson said during an interview with Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week.” “I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.”
Hutchinson will make a formal announcement later this month in Bentonville, Arkansas, he said.
Hutchinson is entering the GOP primary at a tumultuous time in the race, as its current frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, faces an indictment stemming from a case related to hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
On Sunday, Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor, reiterated the call he first made Friday for Trump to withdraw from the race.
“Well he should,” Hutchinson said, when asked whether Trump should pull out of the race. “But at the same time, we know he's not [going to]. And there's not any constitutional requirement.”
The indictment will become too big of a “sideshow,” Hutchinson said, adding that the former president should focus on his defense instead of another bid for the White House.
“I mean, first of all, the office is more important than any individual person. And so for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a sideshow and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process,” Hutchinson said, acknowledging that the former president should be presumed innocent of the charges, which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office have yet to publicly unveil.
Hutchinson joins what’s expected to be a competitive Republican primary. In addition to Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have launched campaigns, and several others have said they’re considering joining the fray.
So far, Hutchinson is the only candidate or speculative candidate to call on Trump to remove himself from the race. Others have condemned the investigation as a partisan attack by Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney who brought the case to the grand jury. Haley described the case as more about “revenge” than justice; Former Vice President Mike Pence called the indictment “an outrage”; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the move was “un-American.”
Hutchinson has also been critical of the case. “I don't like the idea of the charges from what I've seen coming out of New York,” he said Sunday. “But the process has got to work, and we've got to have respect for our criminal justice system, but also for the office of presidency.”