Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday swatted down the possibility of throwing his support behind former President Trump’s potential 2024 White House comeback bid while arguing that Trump “should not define” the future of the Republican Party.
After describing the announcement by his nephew, Arkansas State Sen. Jim Hendren, to leave the GOP — citing Trump’s incitement of the mob behind the deadly insurrection of the Capitol last month — as a move that “saddens” him and is a “warning sign” to the GOP that those within the party “would like to see a more civil dialogue,” Hutchinson was asked on CNN whether Trump has succeeded in taking down the Republican Party as the Arkansas governor knows it.
Hutchinson previously remarked to CNN that Trump, who is set to make his first post-White House speech at next week’s Conservative Political Action Conference amid pushing for primary challenges of Republicans who have bucked him, can’t define the party moving forward.
“He’ll only define the party if we let him,” Hutchinson said. “That’s a reason my voice is important. Other’s voices are important in this debate and I think it’s fine for CPAC to invite former President Trump to speak.”
Hutchinson added that Trump has a “loud megaphone,” but insisted Republicans have “many different voices.”
“In my view, we can’t let him define us for the future because that would just further divide our country and it would hurt our Republican Party,” Hutchinson said.
Pressed on whether the Arkansas governor would ever support Trump again if the former president launched a 2024 run, Hutchinson bluntly replied: “No, I wouldn’t.”
“It’s time and he’s got a good family. I worked with Ivanka (Trump) and others and they love America,” Hutchinson said. “But I would not support him for reelection in 2024.”
Hutchinson reiterated that Trump “should not define” the GOP’s future.
“He’s going to have a voice, as former presidents do, but there are many voices in the party and again, he should not define our future,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve got to define it for ourself and that has to be based upon the principles that gave us the strength in America.”
Hutchinson’s coming out against the former president comes amid Trump loyalists such as Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) going after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who voted to acquit the former president, for scolding Trump for inciting the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection last month.
Watch Hutchinson’s remarks below:
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Republican Governor of Arkansas, on whether he'd support a Trump run in 2024:
"No, I wouldn't. It's time, and he's got a good family, I've worked with Ivanka and others, and they love America. But I would not support him for re-election in 2024." pic.twitter.com/Cn31A67TIx
— The Recount (@therecount) February 21, 2021