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Asa Hutchinson, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, has announced that he is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination – and called on former President Donald Trump to drop out of the race.
Hutchinson, an outspoken critic of Trump, made the announcement during an interview broadcast Sunday with ABC “This Week” host Jonathan Karl. Last week, Hutchinson spent time in Iowa, his third trip to the pivotal state this year. He joins another former Republican governor, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, in trying to keep Trump from again clinching the Republican nomination.
“I have made a decision, and my decision is I’m going to run for president of the United States,” Hutchinson said. “And the reason is, I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country. I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.”
EXCLUSIVE: Former GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces during an interview with @JonKarl that he will be running for president.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 2, 2023
A formal announcement will take place in Bentonville, Arkansas, later this month, Hutchinson told Karl. He added that he would bring optimism, common sense, and “consistent conservatism” to the office if elected.
When asked if he thought former President Trump should drop out of the race, Hutchinson replied, “I do.”
“I mean, first of all, the office is more important than any individual person,” Hutchinson said. “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 and there is a presumption of innocence.”
This stands in contrast to other declared Republican presidential hopefuls, including Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Haley said the indictment was purely for “revenge” and “political points.” Ramaswamy warned that an indictment of Trump would be a “national disaster.”
Hutchinson explained that he doesn’t believe candidates need to step aside during an investigation but only when criminal charges are brought against them.
Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor, said after the announcement of the indictment that Trump is “entitled to the presumption of innocence” but had previously called on the former president to “step aside” should an indictment occur. The former governor has also previously said that the controversy surrounding January 6, 2021, “disqualifies” Trump from the Republican nomination.
“I know there’s going to be some that say I should be tougher on the prosecutor, I should be tougher on the unfairness of this,” Hutchinson told Karl on the indictment of Trump. “I’ve expressed my view that I wouldn’t bring those charges if I was a prosecutor. But let’s let the system work. And what I don’t want to do as a leader is undermine everything that is good about America, which is our criminal justice system.”
In January, Hutchinson vowed “to do everything” to ensure that Trump did not get the Republican nomination.