Asa Hutchinson and Will Hurd, two of the most vehemently anti-Donald Trump candidates in the Republican presidential primary, took Tuesday’s four-count indictment of the former president as vindication.
“I have always said that Donald Trump is morally responsible for the attack on our democracy. Now, our system of Justice will determine whether he is criminally responsible,” Hutchinson, a former congressman and former Arkansas governor, said in a statement shortly after the charges were unveiled.
He also took the opportunity — as he has in the past — to say Trump should withdraw from the GOP race because of the indictment.
“The latest indictment reaffirms my earlier call that Donald Trump should step away from the campaign for the good of the country. If not, the voters must choose a different path,” he said.
Hutchinson and Hurd, along with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, make up the highest-profile anti-Trumpers in the Republican presidential field. But they remain stuck in the single digits in polls as Trump, despite his growing legal woes, has maintained a hefty lead over the second-place candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Former Texas representative Hurd repeated a message he delivered last week to an Iowa Republican crowd, where many had reacted with boos.
“Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great. He’s not running for president to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 or 2020 or who donated to his campaign,” Hurd said Tuesday on NBC News Now.
“He’s running to stay out of prison.”
Hurd added that Trump was worried about dying behind bars.
“He’s 78 years old, and if any one of these counts, if he is found guilty, he’s going to be in prison for the rest of his life,” he said.
Hurd acknowledged that his statements in Iowa were met with boos, but said there were some in the audience who didn’t boo and even a few who clapped.
“The people that I was talking to by saying those statements are the people that believe in common sense. There’s more of those folks. And you can’t be afraid of Donald Trump,” he said.