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Asa Hutchinson joins Mike Pence in refusal to endorse Trump

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson seen during the 2023 First in the Nation Leadership Summit (Getty Images)
Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson seen during the 2023 First in the Nation Leadership Summit (Getty Images)

Former Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson has firmly stated he will not endorse Donald Trump as the nominee for his party, saying Mr Trump has put his ego “above the common good”.

Writing for USA Today, Mr Hutchinson said he could not and would not back Mr Trump, echoing the decision by former vice-president Mike Pence late last week.

The former Arkansas governor said that the Republican nominee had redefined the party “in his image” and that meant traditional GOP values had been lost.

“He has made the GOP the party that likes Russian president Vladimir Putin over the freedom fighters in Ukraine. He has transfigured conservatism into isolationism by abandoning NATO and US leadership among the nations of the world,” Mr Hutchinson wrote.

“He has brought back the ancient idea of economic protectionism with his “ring around America” plan to impose tariffs on friend and foe alike. And by doing so, he says America cannot win and compete in the global marketplace.”

The 73-year-old politician, who voted for Mr Trump twice before, then turned to the events of 6 January 2021 at the US Capitol, saying that the attacks on members of congress and law enforcement that day meant Mr Trump could not lead the country ever again.

“To this day, he continues to undermine our democracy by defending the actions of that dark day,” Mr Hutchinson continued.

The views expressed by the former Arkansas governor reflected words from Mr Trump’s former VP Mike Pence in an interview with Fox News last week.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Mr Pence said, despite having touted the achievements the pair had during the 2016-2020 term.

“But that being said, during my presidential campaign, I made it clear that there were profound differences between me and President Trump on a range of issues, and not just our difference on my constitutional duties that I exercised on January 6.”

Mr Pence was a target of some during the January 6 riot, after refusing to overturn the election results in favour of Mr Trump.

During Friday’s interview, Mr Pence said he also would not vote for President Biden, either, and that sentiment was repeated by Mr Hutchinson in his piece.

“Biden’s weak border policies, his poor economic record and his slow growth energy policy do not justify reelection,” Mr Hutchinson wrote, saying he still believed in the principles of the Republican Party.

“So, I am a Republican who won’t be supporting our presumptive nominee. I hope there will be those in the trenches who will push back against this takeover of the Republican Party and who will join the fight to reclaim the future.”