Hutchinson, who is considering his own presidential run, told the Associated Press that he felt Trump’s 2024 campaign was the “worst scenario” for Republicans.
Hutchinson denounces Trump
Hutchinson particularly emphasized Trump’s efforts to terminate portions of the Constitution, in an effort to overturn Biden’s 2020 election win, as being beyond the pale. Hutchinson said that Trump’s actions, after losing the 2020 election, were “so out of line and out of step with America that it almost does not deserve a response.”
“I mean, any leader, former president that says suspend the Constitution is tearing at the fabric of our democracy. And so, we want to make sure that the people know that it’s Republicans that support the rule of law,” Hutchinson said.
Still, Hutchinson refused to rule out supporting Trump under the circumstance that the former president earned the Republican nomination. But Hutchinson may well try and beat out Trump for the Republican nomination. As Hutchinson told the AP, he will consider his financial support and the public’s receptivity to his message before making an ultimate decision on whether to launch a presidential campaign.
Several prominent conservatives denounce Trump
Hutchinson’s comments would have been shocking just two years ago, when Trump was the de facto leader of the Republican party. Trump was somewhat ruthless, cutting down opponents and, really, anyone who even criticized him. Accordingly, Republicans cowered in fear, too afraid to denounce Trump or his antics for fear that doing so would be political suicide, knowing that Trump dispatched his critics without mercy, throwing them at the feet of his rabid MAGA followers. The end result was a meek Republican party who let Trump’s power operate without check.
Obviously, times have changed. Conservatives are coming out of the woodwork to criticize Trump; criticizing Trump is almost becoming the fashionable thing to do. It’s like conservatives are getting it out now, after years of keeping it bottled inside.
Chris Christie, who led Trump’s transition in 2016, before being snubbed for a position within the administration itself, criticized Trump for putting “himself before everybody else.” Mike Pompeo, who served in the Trump administration as Secretary of State and CIA Director, criticized Trump for going on Fox News and sending tweets all day – behaviors which “won’t win elections.” Nikki Haley, who served as UN Ambassador during the Trump years, and who previously said she wouldn’t run against her former boss, suggested that it was time for a “younger generation to lead across the board.”
Trump is vulnerable
The slew of criticisms underscore how conservatives view Trump; conservatives view Trump as vulnerable; they recognize there has never been a better time to push Trump aside.
Part of the calculation, no doubt, is how poorly Trump endorsees fared in the midterm elections. Trump endorsees were slaughtered in battleground states, indicating that Trump is losing favor with swing voters – even in places where Trump has won in the past. So, GOP rivals are recognizing the shift in the wind. If Trump is going to be felled, it is going to be now.
Keep an eye on Lindsey Graham. When Graham starts denouncing Trump, you’ll know Trump is in trouble and that the mainstream GOP is ready to move on. Graham is a human weathervane; he goes in whichever direction the wind is blowing. In 2015 when the GOP viewed Trump as a two-bit fringe-actor, Graham ripped Trump. By the time Trump was the GOP nominee, Graham was a full-fledged, sycophantic supporter.
Graham parrots the GOP consensus, so let’s see if he changes his tune regarding Trump in the coming weeks.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.