- Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who recently announced that he will run for president in 2024, believes he is the “clear alternative” to former President Donald Trump, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
- Hutchinson said he is the “right leader” to tackle the challenges the U.S. currently faces, like the border, social issues, international factors and the economy.
- “I’m very optimistic about our future, as a country, but it takes leaders that can bring out all of the good things that are in this country,” Hutchinson told the DCNF.
Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson believes he is the ‘clear alternative’ to former President Donald Trump in the GOP primaries, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Hutchinson, who was recently succeeded by former Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in January, announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination Sunday, and will officially launch his campaign on April 26. The former governor believes his principles rooted in limited government makes him the “right leader” to tackle concerns like the border crisis, social issues, challenges abroad and the economy, he told the DCNF.
“The nomination process should not be a coronation of Donald Trump, I think we need to have alternatives, and I’m providing a clear alternative to him,” Hutchinson told the DCNF. “We’ve got to have leadership that brings out the best in America, and not appeal to our worst instincts.”
One of Hutchinson’s policies he’s focused on in 2024 is the border crisis and the fentanyl epidemic, he told the DCNF. Hutchinson served as the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency and as an official for the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush’s administration.
He called for securing the border and reducing fentanyl related deaths, and previously told the DCNF he supports the end of President Joe Biden’s “catch and release” policy, which uses parole authority to require agencies not to detain illegal immigrants while waiting on their court date.
“I have been an outspoken supporter of designating the Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. This designation allows us to use many more resources and tools to combat the human suffering these criminal organizations spread throughout our communities,” Hutchinson previously told the DCNF.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) April 2, 2023
The former governor touted his record on several cultural issues, like signing a bill that prevented biological men from competing in women’s sports, as well as anti-abortion legislation. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act required that school sponsored sports teams be designated on the basis of biological sex, and the pro-life bill banned abortion outright in the state except for when the mother’s life is in danger.
While nearly banning all abortion in Arkansas, the governor has come out against a federal abortion ban as that would be an overreach of federal government power, and is a decision that should be left up to the states.
As governor, Hutchinson vetoed a law that would have banned transgender surgeries for minors in 2021. The former governor told the DCNF that he would have signed it, but it was “much more extreme” and “went far beyond” barring gender-affirming operations on children, and breached the conservative principle of limited government.
Hutchinson refused to sign a religious freedom bill, the Conscious Protection Act, until the Legislature watered it down, per Walmart’s request. The Act came as a broader effort to combat the Obama administration’s efforts to curb religious freedom with the support from big corporations like Walmart. The legislation barred state and local government from interfering with individual’s religious beliefs without a “compelling” reason, and Walmart, whose headquarters are in Arkansas, argued that the Act wasn’t inclusive enough.
“Republican voters are rightfully concerned about our culture and how a leftist, progressive agenda is being pushed down into academia and into our schools,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson slammed other Republicans for recommending isolationism regarding foreign relations, and noted that national security issues are one of the largest problems the U.S. faces today that he wants to solve.
Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have called for ending U.S. involvement in the Ukraine-Russia war, and the former president and Ramaswamy both called for total independence from China.
“[We must] continue to support America as a strong leader across the globe versus moving to isolationism as some others have pushed, even within the Republican Party,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson is focused on reducing high energy costs by achieving energy independence and lowering inflation and interest rates by bolstering the American economy, he told the DCNF.
The Fed recently raised interest rates to the highest they’ve been since 2007, with a target rate between 4.75% and 5%, following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Before Biden took office, the Consumer Price Indexwas at 1.4%, and continued to grow under his administration, with high inflation of 7% at the end of his first year and 9% in July 2022.
“I’m very optimistic about our future, as a country, but it takes leaders that can bring out all of the good things that are in this country, in terms of individual initiative, responsibility, our creativity, our technologies, that’s what’s going to help us to grow our economy,” said Hutchinson. “I’m a governor with a consistent conservative record of lowering taxes, of creating jobs and making government more efficient.”
Hutchinson, who recently left office, was elected as Arkansas’ 46th governor in 2014 and was reelected in 2018. He is a former U.S. Attorney, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives for Arkansas. Hutchinson most recently served as the president of the National Governors Association from 2021 – 2022.
“They’re [Republican voters] looking for leaders who will push back against a progressive, left agenda in Washington,” said Hutchinson. “I am the right leader for this time with the challenges that we face as a nation.”
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