GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump's meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes was 'not accidental' and hopes 'someday we won't have to be responding' to the former president

GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump's meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes was 'not accidental' and hopes 'someday we won't have to be responding' to the former president
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former President Donald Trump
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former President Donald TrumpManuel Balce Ceneta, File/Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
  • Trump said he didn't know white supremacist Nick Fuentes when Kanye West brought him to dinner.

  • Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump failed to condemn white supremacy and Holocaust denialism.

  • Hutchinson, a frequent Trump critic, has said he's considering running for president in 2024.

Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was among the first elected Republicans to condemn former President Donald Trump for meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week.

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Hutchinson, who has served two terms as the governor of Arkansas, was asked about the meeting, which occurred at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and also included rapper Kanye West.

"Well, I hope someday we won't have to be responding to what President Trump has said or done. This instance it's important to respond," Hutchinson said, going on to acknowledge host Dana Bash's mention of his time working as a US attorney who prosecuted racist militia members.

"The last time I met with a white supremacist, it was in an armed standoff. I had a bulletproof vest on, we arrested them, prosecuted them, and sent them to prison. So no, I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with a vowed racist or antisemite," Hutchinson continued, adding leaders should avoid empowering extremists.

Trump said he agreed to dinner with West but the rapper unexpectedly brought several people with him, including Fuentes. A 24-year-old activist and podcaster, Fuentes is known for sharing racist and antisemitic views, including denying the Holocaust. He attended the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally, during which a neo-Nazi killed a counterprotester with his car, and has been described by the Justice Department as a "white supremacist."

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In several Truth Social posts, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or anything about him, but has not condemned the views Fuentes espouses.

"You can have accidental meetings. Things like that happen," Hutchinson said. "This was not an accidental meeting. It was a set-up dinner with Kanye."

The governor also said that leaders need to be "absolutely clear" that white supremacy and denying the Holocaust is not acceptable, adding that Trump's "failure to condemn" it represented the "extreme" minority of the GOP.

Hutchinson, who could not run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits, has become a frequent critic of Trump, dismissing election fraud claims and calling him responsible for the Capitol riot. He also said in August he was considering running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Trump announced plans to run earlier this month.

Most elected Republicans have not condemned Trump's meeting with Fuentes, however, some other potential 2024 hopefuls have spoken out, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider