Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, setting himself apart from other candidates by criticizing former President Donald Trump’s “appeal to our worst instincts.”
Hutchinson, a Republican moderate, believes that “people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.” He made his remarks during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.
Hutchinson’s announcement puts him in a small Republican field that includes Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. However, he faces an uphill battle to win over the party, which is firmly behind Trump.
Last week, the latest NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll showed that 8 in 10 Republicans continue to have a favorable opinion of Trump, and 8 in 10 Republicans agree with him that the investigations into his actions are a “witch hunt.”
Hutchinson’s candidacy comes just days after he spent time in Iowa, leading to speculation that he would announce his intention to run.
He told ABC that a formal announcement will be made later this month in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Hutchinson served two consecutive terms as governor of Arkansas and was succeeded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former White House spokesperson.
Hutchinson’s announcement also comes just two days before Trump is expected to surrender to authorities in New York following his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury over hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair.
Hutchinson subsequently called on Trump to step aside from the race, saying that “the grand jury found probable cause and that’s the standard for any criminal charges in our society.”
This is a departure from the rest of his party, which has called the charges politically motivated.
It remains to be seen whether Hutchinson’s candidacy can gain traction in a party that is still heavily aligned with Trump.
Nonetheless, he believes that there is a desire among voters for leaders who appeal to the best of America rather than the worst. He hopes to capitalize on this sentiment in his bid for the Republican nomination.