Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) is the latest GOP leader to speak out against former President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign, stating that his 2024 bid for the White House is the “worst scenario” for the party.
Hutchinson, who is laying the groundwork for his presidential bid, said in an interview with the Associated Press that he would not rule out supporting Trump if he were the GOP nominee but that his candidacy would only aid the Democrats and President Joe Biden in securing a win.
“That’s really the worst scenario,” Hutchinson said regarding another showdown between Trump and Biden. “That’s almost the scenario that Biden wishes for. And that’s probably how he got elected the first time. It became, you know, a binary choice for the American people between the challenges that we saw in the Trump presidency, particularly the closing days, versus Biden, who he made it that choice.”
Hutchinson, however, has previously said he would not support Trump in 2024, stating that his irresponsible behavior is not something the people want to see in a president.
The Arkansas governor also denounced Trump’s calls to terminate the Constitution, saying the former president’s words were “so out of line and out of step with America that it almost does not deserve a response.”
“It hurts our country,” he said. “I mean, any leader, former president that says suspend the Constitution is tearing at the fabric of our democracy. And so we want to make sure that the people know that it’s Republicans that support the rule of law.”
He is not the only GOP leader worried about how Trump’s reelection bid will reflect on the Republican Party. Several are concerned that the House and Senate, as well as the White House, could slip from GOP grasp if the party splits over backing Trump or moving forward with someone else.
Many blame Trump for the lackluster performance of the Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, particularly after the GOP lost heavily in key states such as Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
However, Hutchinson does not think the midterm elections reflect citizens’ rejection of the Republican Party as a whole, just their aversion to select candidates.
“The midterm elections made it clear to me that the GOP needs a bold agenda, but also new voices that’s articulating what our party stands for, the direction we want to take our country,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson joins several other Republicans who have teased or even announced bids for the 2024 presidency. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is maintaining a high favorable rating, with many polls showing Trump trailing him significantly.
Despite widespread negative feelings against Trump, Hutchinson said he does not believe the GOP will make the same mistake it did in 2016 and attempt to block Trump by splitting the vote. Early primaries in caucus states can be expected to bring out new Republican candidates, he said.
“I think it will be much more methodical this cycle than what we’ve seen in previous years,” he said. “And I think that competition is good and it’s healthy.”