“No, I wouldn’t," he proclaimed to CNN on Sunday when asked if he planned to back Trump in a possible bid for the presidency. "He’s got a good family, I’ve worked with Ivanka and others, and they love America, but I would not support him for reelection in 2024.”
“We can't let [Trump] define us for the future because that would further divide our country, and it would hurt our Republican Party,” he noted.
Hutchinson's comments follow a move from his nephew, Arkansas state Sen. Jim Hendren, who days earlier resigned from the Republican Party and became an Independent due to the GOP's embrace of Trump.
"For months, I watched as members of my own party and our former president tried to overturn the results of a fair and free election, the very hallmark of our democracy, with lies, with false statements, conspiracy theories, and attempts to subvert the Constitution," Hendren said, adding that he was sickened by Trump's decision to "actively fan the flame of racist rhetoric, make fun of those with disabilities, bully his enemies, and talk about women in ways that would never be tolerated in my home or business."
Hutchinson noted his nephew's decision to vacate the GOP "saddens" him and "serves as a warning sign."
“Well, it saddens me, and it’s certainly a warning sign to us that there’s many out there that would like to see a more civil dialogue, and so, I have tremendous respect for what he announced or what he’s thinking there, but he’s big a big part of lowering taxes in Arkansas — he’s been a great partner with me," he commented on Sunday.
Trump has yet to declare whether he seeks to run in 2024, but the former president hinted at the issue on Wednesday.
"I won't say yet, but we have tremendous support. I'm looking at poll numbers that are through the roof," he indicated during an interview with Newsmax.
Trump has been selected to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, despite since-dismissed allegations that he incited the Jan. 6 riot, which saw thousands of his supporters storm the Capitol in a violent event that led to five deaths, including a police officer.
“He will only define our party if we let him define our party," Hutchinson spoke of Trump. "That’s one of the reasons that my voice is important, others voices [are] important in this debate, and I think it’s fine for CPAC to invite former President Trump to speak, but how about the other voices — Sen. Cassidy from Louisiana, those that have different points of view, still arch conservatives, but a different voice for the future of our party."