Governor Asa Hutchinson said he has told Donald Trump to count on his support in the presidential race but has warned him that he may continue speaking out when he disagrees with the billionaire developer
Hutchinson was among a group of Republican governors who met with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in New York. In the past, Hutchinson has criticized Trump for some of his comments and has said Trump needs to show he is capable of presidential leadership.
“I told him that there will be continued areas of disagreement,” Hutchinson told reporters at the state Capitol a day after his meeting with Trump.
“I have no doubt about it that Donald Trump’s going to be Donald Trump. If he says something that is something that I disagree with, I may say something, I might not say something.”
Hutchinson said Trump is not perfect but called himself “a team player.”
“We don’t have a perfect candidate, but I’m not a perfect candidate,” he said. “So I look at this campaign as something that is important to win because of the principles of my party, the Republican Party, the governance that they will provide overall.”
The governor said a Trump win would be better than a win by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton because it would result in an administration and federally appointed judges who would be more inclined to give states flexibility on issues such as environmental protection and health care.
One thing that struck Hutchinson during his visit, he said, is that Trump’s campaign is “a small operation.”
Trump has been criticized for saying, after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that the shooter was “born an Afghan,” that “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”
In fact, the shooter, Omar Mateen, was born in New York to parents from Afghanistan.
Hutchinson, former undersecretary for border and transportation security for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was asked what he thought of Trump’s comments and Obama’s response. Hutchinson said Trump has “got a long way to go in being able to articulate this in exactly the right way, but I am convinced that he will be able to build a team around him that will be able to address terrorism effectively.”
Asked if Trump has shown he can be presidential, Hutchinson said, “Anybody’s presidential who’s elected president. All of a sudden our standard of what’s presidential might change.”