Trump Should Stop Running For President Now That He’s Been Indicted, Former GOP Gov. Says

Former President Donald Trump’s indictment inspired several of his would-be rivals in the race for the White House to rally loudly to his defense. But not Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor and U.S. attorney who is considering a White House run of his own.

“That’s the standard that I’ve set as governor: When a public official is indicted, I think in regard for the office, and the office is more important than the person, they should step aside and that standard should apply here,” Hutchinson said Friday on Fox Business Network.

When anchor Stuart Varney pressed him on if he thought Trump should now step aside, Hutchinson said, “Well, I do, but he’s not going to. Only he can make that decision.”

Hutchinson’s remarks came in stark contrast with other possible Republican competitors for the White House, who rushed to criticize the as-yet undisclosed charges against Trump.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would not help extradite Trump from Florida, even though extradition is not likely to be an issue in Trump’s case. “The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” he said in a tweet.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, who has also been mentioned as a possible contender, tweeted, “Arresting a presidential candidate on a manufactured basis should not happen in America.” And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations who announced her run in February, tweeted, “This is more about revenge than it is about justice.”

In contrast to those statements, Hutchinson’s reaction Thursday evening neither called the indictment politically motivated or attempted to link the New York prosecutor to billionaire financier George Soros, as DeSantis’ and other high-profile Republicans’ statements did.

“It is a dark day for America when a former President is indicted on criminal charges. While the grand jury found credible facts to support the charges, it is important that the presumption of innocence follows Mr. Trump,” Hutchinson said.

“We need to wait on the facts and for our American system of justice to work like it does for thousands of Americans every day.”

Prior to his comments Friday on Fox Business, Hutchinson struck a slightly softer tone in the statement following the indictment Thursday, saying voters should ultimately decide Trump’s fitness for office.

“Donald Trump should not be the next President, but that should be decided by the voters,” he said.

Still, Hutchinson in the past has shown a willingness to go after Trump, even as Trump has continued to be the clear favorite in party polls well ahead of next year’s GOP primaries.

We need to wait on the facts and for our American system of justice to work like it does for thousands of Americans every day.Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson

In January, he said the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol should disqualify Trump from running. And in December, he said Trump’s endorsement of diminishing value for Republicans.

“There’s a cost that comes with his endorsement, we saw this time and time again in the midterm elections,” he said in an interview on CNN.

While Hutchinson avoided the strident tone of many other Republicans Friday, he did say as a former U.S. attorney he likely would not have brought the New York case.

“I don’t believe this is a good case to bring. I would not have brought this case, based upon the facts that I know. But I also believe we have to be patient and we have to have some confidence in our system of justice that it’s going to work in this case, too,” he said.

Asked by Varney why he did not seem as outraged by the case as many of his fellow Republicans, Hutchinson had a simple answer.

“Well, I’m not an outrageous person,” he said.

CORRECTION: The network Hutchinson appeared on was Fox Business Network, not Fox Business News.