Outgoing Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vowed Friday that he would not support Donald Trump if the former president decides to make another White House run in 2024 — with Hutchinson saying Trump constituted “a risk to the nation” in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
“As you can see from the testimony on Jan. 6, then and subsequent to the election where he was challenging the legality of it, the lawful transfer of [power] — yes, that was a threat to our democracy. That was a threat to our institutions of government,” Hutchinson told “CBS Mornings.” “And that’s not the behavior we want to see in a responsible president.”
Hutchinson, who is likely to be succeeded as governor by former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, added that he did not believe the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot had proven criminal wrongdoing by Trump in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
When asked if he agreed with select committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) that Trump constituted a danger to the US, Hutchinson eventually agreed.
“Everybody phrases a different way,” the governor said. “I would not be supporting him for 2024. He acted irresponsibly. During that time, he was a risk to the nation, absolutely.”
Trump has yet to announce whether he intends to run for president again, though he has teased a final decision to follow this November’s midterm elections.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is widely seen as the most credible challenger to Trump, but the former president has expressed optimism over the outcome of any potential primary contest, telling the New Yorker recently “I think I would win” a showdown with DeSantis.
Asa Hutchinson’s comments came three days after Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide in the Trump White House, testified before the Jan. 6 committee and made several bombshell claims — including that Trump knew several of his supporters were armed at the “Stop The Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol riot and that he made a “lunge” at a Secret Service agent after he was unable to travel to the Capitol building that same day.
Her testimony has since been called into question by sources close to the Secret Service, who claim the lunge never happened.
Asa Hutchinson, who is not believed to be related to Cassidy Hutchinson, praised her testimony as “very compelling” Friday.
“I think she clearly demonstrated her concern and love for our country,” the governor said. “She came across with a great deal of credibility, but what’s the challenge with the committee is they’re not having cross-examination. They’re not having other points of view, and so that makes it more difficult … Secondly, they got into hearsay and that’s where, if they can’t back that up, it undermines that testimony.”
The committee will hold at least one more hearing this month and hopes to wrap up its work by the beginning of next year, when Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives.