Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Sunday that he's entering the race for the White House in 2024.
“I am 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,” Hutchinson said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.”
He said the formal announcement will be made later in April. Hutchinson’s announcement offers GOP voters an alternative to former president Donald Trump—the first ex-president to face criminal charges. When asked about the current 2024 frontrunner, Hutchinson said, “I don’t believe he should be the next leader of our country.”
“Well, he should,” Hutchinson added when asked if Trump should exit the race. “But at the same time, we know he’s not [going to]. And there’s not any constitutional requirement.”
Hutchinson’s dissent from the Trumpian part of the GOP is well documented. When other members of the GOP stood by Trump after his 2020 election loss, Hutchinson acknowledged Joe Biden won. As governor, Hutchinson also vetoed legislation that would have banned gender-affirming care in his state, which earned Hutchinson the title of “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) by Trump.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have also announced their 2024 presidential bids, while other prominent GOP officials—namely Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence—are expected to run, but have not made the formal announcements yet.
Hutchinson has dedicated his career to public service. After President Ronald Reagan appointed him as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas in 1982, starting in 1996, Hutchinson served in the House for three consecutive terms. During his last term in Congress, President George W. Bush tapped him to be the director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and later to be an undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. Hutchinson served as the governor of Arkansas from 2015 until 2023, the maximum two terms, before becoming the 2021-2022 Chairman of the National Governors Association—a path traversed by both Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee before they launched their own presidential bids.
The news comes days following Trump’s historic indictment in the hush-money case. In Sunday’s interview, Hutchinson said the indictment might also be too time-consuming for Trump to take on a presidential run: “I mean, 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 sideshow and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process.”
Despite his disagreements with Trump, Hutchinson was still critical of the Manhattan DA’s case: “I don’t like the idea of the charges from what I’ve seen coming out of New York.” He continued, “But the process has got to work, and we’ve got to have respect for our criminal justice system, but also for the office of presidency.”