(NewsNation) — Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says GOP candidates need to distinguish themselves from former President Donald Trump, saying Republicans won’t win in 2024 with Trump atop the ticket.
“The cartels are our No. 1 threat. And Mexico, in terms of the fentanyl coming in, to human smuggling.” Hutchinson said. “And the fact that Mexico has not been strong enough in going after the cartels, they’ve basically given them a green light to operate and that empowers them.”
Hutchinson also discussed China’s recent threats against Taiwan, saying the U.S. needs to support Taiwan.
“We support their independence, we support their freedoms there, and that they’re not going to be pushed around by China. And so, we’ve got to stand with them and build the military support around them.”
Hutchinson announced his presidential bid just days after Trump was indicted by a grand jury in New York, the former governor positioning himself as an alternative to Trump.
The attorney and businessman served as governor of Arkansas from 2015 to 2023.
“I believe that I am the right time for America, the right candidate for our country and its future,” Hutchinson said when announcing his candidacy on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.”
Some of those critical of Trump have raised concerns that a crowded Republican primary could help Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination, much like in the 2016 election. Hutchinson dismissed those concerns, saying this election is very different from the one in 2016 because “Trump is a known quantity today.”
The GOP presidential field currently includes former U.N. Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are also considering bids. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to join the race in the summer, and is considered Trump’s greatest challenge in the primaries.