Posted originally on the CTH on April 2, 2023 | Sundance
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announces on ABC news that he will be running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking in the customary tones of an evangelical minister trained in the dark arts of using a righteous serpent tongue, Mr. Hutchinson indicates that he carries a higher moral authority to sit in judgement of what the professional Republican Party truly needs. The professional Republican Party likely anticipates dozens of votes for Hutchinson. WATCH:
He’s not running for President; he’s running to be the silver-haired serpent tongue of the professional Republican apparatus. Creepy vibes are all over this guy…
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CHIEF WHASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: When I spoke to you earlier this year, you said you were thinking about running for president. Have you made a decision? Are you running?
ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I have made a decision. And my decision is I’m going to run for president of the United States. While the formal announcement will be later in April, Bentonville, I wanted to make clear that to you, Jonathan, I am going to be going to be running.
And the reason — as I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country, and I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.
That inspires me when I see everyday Americans just saying, give us good leadership, give us common sense, consistent conservatism, and optimism about our great country. And that inspires me. And I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.
KARL: Now, you’ve got a lot of experience. You’ve been a prosecutor. You’ve been a member of Congress. You’ve been a governor. You’ve been director of the DEA.
But most people outside of Arkansas don’t know who you are. How do you break through?
HUTCHINSON: Well, a lot of hard work and good messaging. But I’ve spent some time in Iowa, and I love the response that I get there. And so, it’s still about retail politics in many of these states.
And also, this is one of the most unpredictable political environments that I’ve seen in my lifetime. And so, my message of experience, of consistent conservatism, of hope for our future and solving problems that face Americans, I think that that resonates. And whenever I make the final announcement, I’ll be everywhere. And I think it’s a plan that can work in this environment.
KARL: And how does the indictment of Donald Trump by the Manhattan D.A. change this race?
HUTCHINSON: Well, that adds to the unpredictability of it. And I think it’s a sad day for America that we have a former president that’s indicted. And so, it’s a great distraction.
But, at the same time, we can’t set aside what our Constitution requires, which is electing a new leader for our country, just because we have this side controversy and criminal charges that are pending. And the American people are going to have to separate what the ideas are for our future, going to talk about border security and the economy. We have to talk about those.
We have to talk about the leadership of America in the world whenever you have Russia and China taking advantage of any weakness that America shows. So, we can’t be sidetracked for a year and a half.
KARL: You suggested recently that if Trump were to get indicted, that he should drop out of the race. Do you believe that now that he’s been indicted, should he drop out?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I do. First of all, the office is more important than any individual person. And so, for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a side show and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process, and there is a presumption of innocence.
But the second reason is, throughout my eight years as governor, and as a political leader, I’ve always said that people don’t have to step aside from public office if they’re under investigation. But if it reaches the point of criminal charges that have to be answered, the office is always more important than a person.
KARL: And he should step aside and no longer run?
HUTCHINSON: Well, he should. But, at the same time, we know he’s not. And there’s not any constitutional requirement. And so he’s going to pursue, and I understand that, but I stated my principles and belief and how I think it should be handled.
But he’s going to proceed on. And so he’s going to be a candidate. And I think, ultimately, the voters are going to have to decide this.
KARL: Do you trust this process in New York? Do you think he can get a fair trial, a fair hearing in New York?
HUTCHINSON: Well, the important thing is that the grand jury found probable cause. And that’s the standard for any criminal charges in our society. And the presumption of innocence follows you. And then there’s a trial. And the termination of guilt or innocence. That’s the American system. We don’t want to erode confidence in our entire criminal justice system simply because we don’t like the beginning parts of the case.
KARL: What about the fundamentals of the case? Put aside the legal issues here. The idea of hush money for a porn star to conceal an alleged affair, does some of this end up making the evangelical voters who supported Trump so strongly in the past think twice about supporting him again?
HUTCHINSON: Well, let’s look at the three different investigations. One is the hush money out of New York. Secondly it is the request and pressure for votes out of Georgia. And the third one, of course, is the mishandling of classified documents in Mar-a-Lago. Those are three very serious investigations. You might say one of them doesn’t showcase anything. But when you look at all three of them combined, it should give Americans pause.
When you ask about the evangelical community, I’m part of that.
HUTCHINSON: And I believe that the evangelical community understands that we need to have a leader that can distance themselves from some of the bad instincts that drive Mr. Trump. And I hope that we can do that in the future.
KARL: You recently said that your lane is the non-Trump lane, as opposed to the anti-Trump lane. What do you mean by that?
HUTCHINSON: Well, it means that I’m providing an alternative to the former president, Donald Trump. Now, when I say non-Trump, I want – I want to be able to speak to the Trump voters, I want to be able to speak to all the party and say, this is the leadership that I want to provide, and I think that we need to have border security. I think we need to have a strong America. I think we need to spend less at the federal level. These are the values that I represent.
KARL: Chris Christie, speaking in New Hampshire recently, said that the key is Republicans need to be fearless in taking on Donald Trump. That does not seem to be the case. I mean look at how candidates and potential candidates have reacted to the indictment. I mean they’ve rallied to Trump’s defense, effectively?
HUTCHINSON: 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. 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 to undermine everything that is good about America, which is our criminal justice system. It’s what sets us apart.
KARL: I mean there are a lot of Republicans attacking that judicial system and that legal system right now.
HUTCHINSON: And I’m different.
KARL: If Donald Trump manages to win the nomination again, becomes the Republican candidate for president, will you support him?
HUTCHINSON: I’m running because I believe that I am the right time for America, the right candidate for our country and its future. And it shouldn’t hinge upon anything else.
KARL: But you couldn’t see yourself supporting Trump again?
HUTCHINSON: I don’t believe he should be the next leader of our country.