By BRITTANY BERNSTEIN | December 14, 2022 8:52 AM
NATIONAL REVIEW - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a potential 2024 contender, said Tuesday another presidential race between President Biden and former president Donald Trump would be “really the worst scenario.”
“That’s almost the scenario that Biden wishes for,” Hutchinson told the Associated Press. “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 did not rule out supporting Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee, according to the report.
The Arkansas Republican spoke out against Trump’s recent call to suspend the Constitution to address his unfounded claims of widespread vote fraud in the 2020 election. Hutchinson called Trump’s comments “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.”
Hutchinson also said he believes the GOP did not do as well as expected in the midterms “because of poor candidates” and “poor messaging.”
“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.
“The key thing is for Republicans and conservatives is to think about let’s not instinctively say, well, let’s use the power of government to accomplish our social agenda or our cultural agenda,” he said. “You know, our first response is a strength in the home, the strength and the families and the communities and our churches and synagogues strengthen those because that’s the greatest impact on our culture.”
The outgoing 72-year-old governor told the AP he will make a decision early next year on whether to run for president. He dismissed concerns that a crowded primary field could lead to Trump once again winning the nomination, as it did in 2016.
“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.”
Hutchinson’s comments come after former Trump national security adviser John Bolton teased his own 2024 run last week and criticized other potential 2024 contenders for not being more critical of the former president.
After Trump’s Constitution comments, Bolton said he will consider joining the presidential race if that is what it takes to stop his former boss.
“I’d like to see Shermanesque statements from all the potential candidates. . . . If I don’t see that, I’m going to seriously consider getting in,” Bolton told Meet the Press Now.
On Friday, Bolton reiterated his comments to Fox News.
“What started the process really on very accelerated basis was Trump’s statement about terminating the Constitution to put him in the presidency or hold a new election and the relative lack of comment by many of the by the potential Republican [presidential candidates],” Bolton said.
“I view it really as roughly equivalent to saying he [Trump] wants to overthrow the government,” he added. “That’s what happens when you terminate the Constitution and for him to say that, as somebody who took an oath when he became president to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution is advance warning that even if he took that oath again, he wouldn’t mean it.”
Bolton said he is not sure that other potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates have been “critical of Trump in a significant way.”
He added: “There’s a lot of nuance in much of what they say, and I know what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to walk what they see is a tightrope between Trump supporters and Trump opponents. . . . You’ve got to be more definitive than that.”