“I do not believe that Donald Trump should be the next president of the United States. I think he’s had his opportunity there. I think Jan. 6 really disqualifies him for the future. And so, we move beyond that,” Hutchinson said on ABC’s “This Week.” The governor is “seriously considering” launching his own bid for the presidency.
Yet, when pressed by host Jonathan Karl, Hutchinson would not say that he would oppose Trump if he turns out to be the Republican nominee for president.
“I want to see what the alternatives are. It’s premature, Jonathan, to get into what might happen in 2024,” Hutchinson responded. “But I want to see everything I can do to make sure there is the alternative, and that Donald Trump is not the nominee of the party.”
Hutchinson, who’s planning to travel soon to the early primary state of Iowa, admitted that Trump likely remains the current “front-runner” among likely candidates, given his continued popularity among many Republicans.
The House Jan. 6 committee unanimously voted last month to refer four criminal charges against Trump linked to the attempted coup to the Department of Justice: Obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to make false statements, and inciting an insurrection against the United States.
Several critics and experts believe Trump cannot legally campaign because of provisions in the Constitution barring any office-holder from running again if the candidate either participated in an insurrection or supported those who did.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, bars any official who has sworn an oath to defend the government from then seeking reelection if they had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the government — or have “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) survived a 14th Amendment reelection challenge in court last year. But a challenge succeeded in September against a New Mexico official who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
A judge in that state ruled in response to a lawsuit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and others that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin be removed from office, noting the attack on the U.S. Capitol was an “insurrection” and that Griffin’s participation disqualified him from ever holding public office again under the 14th Amendment.
Griffin, founder of the group Cowboys for Trump, later lost an appeal.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and 40 other House Democratsintroduced a bill last month that would ban Trump from becoming president again because he “engaged in an insurrection.” The bill cites the 14th Amendment.
Check out Hutchinson’s full interview here: