Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s running for president in 2024, offering himself as an alternative for Republicans ready to turn the party away from Donald Trump.
“I’m confident that people want leaders that want the best of the America, not those who appeal to their worst instincts,” Hutchinson said in an interview that aired Sunday “This Week.” He said he would make a formal announcement in April in Arkansas.
“I have made a decision, and my decision is I’m going to run for president of United States,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson, 72, left office in January after eight years as governor. He has ramped up his criticism of the former president in recent months, calling another Trump presidential nomination the “worst scenario” for Republicans and saying it would most likely benefit President Joe Biden’s chances in 2024.
Hutchinson sought to position himself as a moderating force on hard-line Republicans in the interview.
Hutchinson joins a field of Republican presidential hopefuls that already includes former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Although more Republicans are expected to join the primary in the coming months, Trump’s shadow looms large following his recent indictment by a Manhattan grand jury making him the first current or former president to face criminal charges.
In a statement issued shortly after news of the indictment broke on Thursday, Hutchinson expressed his belief that Trump should not be the next president, arguing the final decision should be made by voters at the ballot box. Asked by Karl how Trump’s indictment affects the 2024 presidential race, Hutchinson said the development “adds to the unpredictability” of the political process.
“That inspires me, when I see everyday Americans just saying, ‘Give us good leadership, give us common stance, consistent conservatism and optimism about our great country,'” he said.
Hutchinson has been teasing a presidential run since he left office, telling NBC News in January he was “absolutely” considering it.
“I don’t have the nationwide name identification that some others from larger states, who have larger megaphones,” Hutchinson told reporters in Iowa last week. “But that’s what’s good about Iowa. That’s what’s good about the opportunity to convey a consistent, conservative message and your vision for the future.”
He also said Americans need to stand up to “woke ideology” to create a better future, criticizing public investment strategies that avoid industries such as fossil fuels and opposing transgender athletes’ participation in women’s sports.
Hutchinson has been cautious to cast himself as an anti-Trump Republican, noting that he supported his two previous presidential bids.
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