Arkansas' GOP Governor Says Donald Trump Is 'Politically and Morally Responsible' for Jan. 6 Riots

Asa Hutchinson previously announced that he would not support Trump if he ran for president in 2024, claiming that it would further divide the Republican Party and the country

Asa Hutchinson, Donald Trump
Asa Hutchinson and Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty; Win McNamee/Getty

Amid a series of public congressional hearings exposing the lawlessness surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is once again separating himself from fellow Republican Donald Trump.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Hutchinson said that while he doesn't believe the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol is as bipartisan as it could have been, "it is a review that is important," calling Trump "politically and morally responsible" for the events of that day.

"I believe that what happened on Jan. 6 is a lot at his feet," Hutchinson said, referencing Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him. "It was wrong for our country, and for him, to continue to push that theory."

Though he's not convinced the committee has presented enough evidence to establish criminal liability, Hutchinson says Trump's role in the Capitol riots was a "costly error for our democracy" nonetheless.

"He has responsibility there. We need to make sure that's clear," he told Fox News anchor Bret Baier. "I think Republicans need to do a lot of soul-searching as to what is the right thing here, what is the right thing to say for our party and our democracy and our future, and not simply appeal to the basic instincts of some of our base."

This is not the first time that Hutchinson's comments have targeted the GOP's former party leader. Shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Hutchinson said that he would no longer support a 2024 presidential run by Trump if he were to join the race.

"He has a loud megaphone," the governor told CNN at the time, "but we have to have many different voices, and in my view we can't let him define us for the future because that would just further divide our country and it would hurt our Republican Party."

During Sunday's interview, Hutchinson also commented on the news that Democratic and Republican senators had agreed on a bipartisan gun safety proposal to address escalating calls for gun reform following a string of high-profile mass shootings.

"I applaud the senators for trying to look at this from a bipartisan way and find out, 'Is there a narrow path that we can better protect our children?'" he said. "It's a discussion that we absolutely need to have, and I applaud them for doing it."

The proposed legislation — spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy and Republican Sen. John Cornyn — is not as comprehensive as some had hoped, but moves the nation "in the right direction," Biden said in a statement.

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