Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Asa Hutchinson Sounds the Right Tone on Trump Indictment

Over the weekend, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson indicated he will be a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.  He joins Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador Nicki Haley and  Vivek Ramaswamy as formally announced GOP presidential candidates.  Several others such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence appear to be on the verge of announcing.

All the aforementioned candidates sans Hutchinson rushed to the microphone to denounce Trump's indictment by the Manhattan prosecutor and back up the former President.   Hutchinson though immediately distinguished himself from the other GOP presidential candidates, both the announced and those those not yet announced, by taking a different track.  Politico reports:

On Sunday, Hutchinson, a former federal prosecutor, reiterated the call he first made Friday for Trump to withdraw from the race.

“Well he should,” Hutchinson said, when asked whether Trump should pull out of the race. “But at the same time, we know he’s not [going to]. And there’s not any constitutional requirement.”

The indictment will become too big of a “sideshow,” Hutchinson said, adding that the former president should focus on his defense instead of another bid for the White House.

“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,” Hutchinson said, acknowledging that the former president should be presumed innocent of the charges, which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office have yet to publicly unveil.

Hutchinson's position that we should let the criminal process play out and that, until then, Trump should step aside for the good of the GOP and the country, will be attacked by Trump supporters.  But Hutchinson is almost certainly making a different political calculation than his rivals.  He believes other criminal indictments are coming and that Trump's troubles are going to multiply causing even his supporters to eventually tire and long for an alternative.  Hutchinson wants to be that alternative.

I'm reminded of the last stanza of the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken":

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I'm not sure why all the other GOP candidates think the smart play is to attack the prosecution and 
elevate Trump to martyrdom.  It isn't.

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