Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, an outspoken Republican critic of former President Donald Trump, said Sunday that Trump’s early 2024 re-election announcement has fast-tracked potential GOP challengers’ time frames for declaring their own bids.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Hutchinson said Trump has “accelerated everyone’s time frame” after he launched a campaign last month to reclaim the Oval Office.
“So the first quarter of next year, you either need to be in or out,” he said, adding that Trump's "level of support" is an “important" consideration for potential candidates.
Hutchinson, who is leaving the gubernatorial office next month and mulling a 2024 presidential campaign, said he expects he'll make a decision in the "first part" of 2023.
Hutchinson also took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for “undermining science” after he called for a Covid vaccine probe — a reversal of his praise for Trump earlier in the pandemic for expediting the development and distribution of vaccines.
DeSantis, who is not expected to announce whether he will run in 2024 until after Florida’s legislative session in the spring or summer, took a significant lead in two head-to-head matchup polls against Trump this month amid speculation about the former president's potential GOP challengers.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Hutchinson called Trump’s 2024 bid the “worst scenario” for Republicans, pointing to the former president's suggestion that the Constitution be terminated in his ongoing efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Hutchinson added, “I mean, any leader, former president that says suspend the Constitution is tearing at the fabric of our democracy."