Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson argued former President Trump won’t be able to defeat President Biden in the 2024 election if he wins the GOP nomination.
“I don’t believe he can beat Biden,” Hutchinson said in a CNN interview Tuesday. “And even though you can look at the polls now and say, ‘Well, you know, he’s running pretty well against Biden,’ but others run even better against Biden.”
Trump, the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination, has polled well versus Biden, either coming out neck and neck or even slightly ahead of the president in a hypothetical match-up.
A recent CNN poll, meanwhile, showed other GOP candidates polling similarly close to Biden, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) leading the president by several points.
Hutchinson, also the former governor of Arkansas, said Trump’s political style, which he described as “isolationist,” can’t win elections anymore. He argued that effect would be felt in races down the ballot from the presidency as well.
“Trump’s weaknesses are going to manifest even more as this campaign goes on,” Hutchinson continued. “And I think everybody is starting to fundamentally understand that Donald Trump is not the one that carries us to victory — not just for the White House, but what damage will it do in terms of our Senate races and our House races?”
“For that reason, I think everybody’s going to say we need to take a fresh look at this,” he said.
The former governor also pointed to what he characterized as “Trump light” candidates in the field, such as Vivek Ramaswamy, who hold similar views to the former president, saying they are not the answer either.
“I won’t say I won’t support them, but I will certainly campaign hard against them,” Hutchinson said, adding that Trump’s — and by extension Ramaswamy’s — policies are “not the Republican Party.”
Hutchinson said he believes Republican voters will return to candidates — including himself — in the coming months who better align with the party’s traditional tenets, such as small government and controlling spending.
Hutchinson has polled poorly, failing to gather much momentum since launching his campaign in April. He qualified for and attended the first GOP debate, but has only about 0.2 percent support among Republican voters, according to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling averages.
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