Republican candidate for president does not pledge to support Trump if he wins nomination

Asa Hutchinson did not show much enthusiasm when asked if he would stand with the former president after the primaries.

Asa Hutchinson launched his candidacy for president in early April. Since then, the Republican candidate has begun to distance himself from Donald Trump. Hutchinson served as governor of Arkansas from 2015 to 2023. He has declined to confirm that he would support Trump if the former president gets the Republican nomination.

Now 72, Hutchinson predicted he will bring optimism and "consistent conservatism" to the GOP primary. During his time on Fox News Sunday, he was asked about the eventual Republican nominee.

“President Trump has taken a lot of heat for hemming and hawing on whether he would pledge to support the GOP nominee, whoever it ends up being. Would you support him if he was the nominee?”, asked host Shannon Bream.

“We’ve negotiated with the Republican National Committee on the terms of the debate, I expect to be on the debate stage", the former Arkansas governor responded, later adding,"I don't prefer party loyalty oaths, but it is important to have competition."

Hutchinson also had words about another potential candidate, Ron DeSantis, whom he criticized for his battle with Disney in Florida. "I don’t believe whether you’re on the left or the right… the government should not be telling business what they can and cannot do in terms of speech," he said.

"It appears to me that the governor did not like what Disney was doing in terms of what they were saying and exercising speech, so they’re being punished," he added in the aforementioned interview.

Although early polls place him well behind the rest of the candidates, Hutchinson was calm and indicated that he still has time to raise his name recognition among voters.

Asa Hutchinson (left) is one of the Republican candidates most critical of Donald Trump (center). Flickr- Trump White House Archives.

Who is Asa Hutchinson?

The Arkansan has vast experience in government, both in the legislative and executive branches. He worked under the Ronald Reagan administration from 1982 to 1985 and then spent four years in Congress, representing his state's third district in the House of Representatives. After his second term, he jumped back into a presidential administration.

Under President George W. Bush, he served as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and as undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security. After a failed bid for governor in 2006, he succeeded in 2014 by defeating Democrat Mike Ross.

Four years later he won reelection, expanding his margin of victory by almost 10%. In that election, he won by the largest margin of victory for a Republican candidate in Arkansas history.

As for his record as governor, he cut income taxes for individuals and corporations, signed an abortion ban that went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (although he later regretted not including exceptions for rape and incest) and enacted laws prohibiting transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams.

In addition, he vetoed a bill banning gender affirming services for transgender youth, although the local legislature subsequently overrode his veto. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he resisted closing Arkansas and encouraged the use of masks and vaccines.

After leaving the governor's mansion in early 2023, he has toured key states such as Iowa, South Carolina and Arizona, which then prompted him to confirm his presidential bid in early April. Since then, he has been one of the least sympathetic Republican candidates to Donald Trump.