Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson admitted in a recent interview that he is considering running for president even if Trump enters the race.
“You’ve got to get through, of course, this year. But that’s an option that’s on the table,” Hutchinson told CNN on May 1 when questioned about the possibility of a 2024 presidential run. When asked whether he would still campaign if Trump runs, the Arkansas governor insisted that the former president’s candidacy is “not a factor” in his decision-making process.
“I’ve made it clear: I think we ought to have a different direction in the future … I think he did a lot of good things for our country, but we need to go a different direction.”
Trump has yet to announce whether he will run for a second term at the White House but has indicated toward it. Hutchinson, who is also the chairman of the National Governors Association, has been at odds with Trump on several issues.
Last April, Hutchinson vetoed a bill that aimed to block gender reassignment surgeries. The Arkansas governor justified his decision by stating that the bill was the “first law in the nation” that invoked the state between medical decisions, parents who consent to that, and the decision of the patient. The veto drew strong criticism from Trump.
The governor “just vetoed a bill that banned the chemical castration of children. ‘Bye-bye Asa,’ that’s the end of him!” Trump said. “Fortunately for the Great State of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders will do a fantastic job as your next Governor!”
After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Hutchinson said that he wanted the Trump administration to end even though he didn’t join calls for the former president’s resignation. He also warned that if Trump is the “issue” in the 2022 midterms, the GOP would lose the elections.
“He’s not on the ballot and we have to be the party of ideas and principles that are relevant to what’s happening in our country today. We can’t be revisiting what happened last election and we can’t relitigate that,” Hutchinson told The Associated Press.
In addition to Hutchinson, several other GOP members are also considering running for the 2024 presidential elections. This includes Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is also considering running for the post. However, Haley has said that she would stand down if Trump joins the race.
In the CNN interview, Hutchinson took a jab at DeSantis, stating that he opposes the Florida governor’s push to punish Disney after the corporation opposed the state’s law that bans teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity among school kids from kindergarten to third grade. Last month, DeSantis ended Disney’s special tax status in the state.
“I don’t believe that government should be punitive against private businesses because we disagree with them,” Hutchinson said. “To me, that’s the old Republican principle of having restrained government.”