Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson tried to have it both ways on Trump, but MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace and David Jolly were not having it.
Wallace asked, “If you are not the Republican nominee, will you vote for Donald Trump as president?
Hutchinson answered, “Well, I don’t expect him to be the nominee, so –”
Wallace said, “He’s ahead 30 points in the latest polls. It’s certainly a possibility.”
Hutchinson continued, “Well, I understand that, and I’m sure that will come up on the debate stage, but of course, if you believe he’s not qualified under our constitution, the 14th amendment, then he’s not going to even be in the picture.”
Nicolle Wallace politely tried to get clarity, “Well, I agree with you, but did you sign the pledge as a condition of being in the debate that you’ll support the eventual nominee? I’m just trying to find the consistency with your stated positions. I admire some of them but some of them don’t add up.”
Hutchinson tried to parse the situation, “You got to think a little bit lawyerly here that I signed it saying I’m going to support the nominee of the party. I do not believe that Donald Trump will be the nominee of the party, so I can feel comfortable in signing that pledge. Now you’re asking me questions of what’s going to happen down the road? I’m sticking with that statement. That gets me on the debate stage, and it’s important for me to be there and my voice. And we’ll see what the future holds after that. ”
Former Rep. Jolly went the more direct route, ” If I may, if Donald Trump’s name appears as the Republican nominee whether he’s qualified or not, are you going to vote for Donald Trump next November if he’s the nominee of the Republican Party?”
Hutchinson with the dodge, “I don’t expect to be the nominee of the party –”
Jolly pressed, “That’s not what I said, governor. I support your spirit but are you going to vote for Donald Trump as the Republican nominee if indeed he’s on the ballot in Arkansas where you’re registered to vote?”
Hutchinson stuck to his answer, “And I hear you very clearly exactly what you’re asking me and I just gave you the answer that I am providing in signing that pledge based upon. You don’t have to accept it. I just gave you the answer.”
Asa Hutchinson Got Exposed
All of the Republicans running for the party’s presidential nomination can do the math. The solidly never-Trumpers are maybe 15%+ of the primary electorate, so someone like Hutchinson who is running as an alternative to Trump can’t win anything with just the never-Trump vote. Hutchinson needs some people in his camp who voted for Donald Trump, so he can’t rule out voting for Trump.
Hutchinson illustrated why much of the anti-Trump posturing in the Republican primary is for show. Both Hutchinson and Chris Christie get an outsized amount of cable news coverage because they are willing to criticize Trump and sound like more traditional Republicans.
It is a great way to get free media for a campaign, but there is an inconsistency in the rhetoric. If Asa Hutchinson believes that Trump should be disqualified, it should be easy to say that he will not vote for him.
The problem with trying to depose a cult leader and take over the cult is that the person also has to be in the cult. They might have one foot in and one foot out, but at some level, they are there.
Asa Hutchinson got pressed, and when push came to shove, his hypocrisy was exposed.