Hutchinson asserts he’ll pursue legal action against Trump during the debate, whether Trump participates or not

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a GOP presidential candidate, stated that he intends to take an adversarial stance towards former President Trump during the upcoming Republican primary debate, even if Trump opts not to participate.

Hutchinson clarified his approach, saying, “I won’t be defending Donald Trump; I’ll serve as a prosecutor. My focus will be on speaking the truth about Donald Trump. Whether he attends or not, he’ll remain a central topic of discussion.” Hutchinson’s remarks followed reports that Trump intended to skip the debate in favor of an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, confirming weeks of speculation about his absence.

Hutchinson asserted that the upcoming debate offers Republicans an opportunity to propose an alternative to the former president, who currently leads the GOP primary race. He voiced his disapproval of fellow candidates who seem to be overly deferential to Trump.

“Some of the candidates may find themselves defending Donald Trump,” he remarked. “My stance will certainly prioritize truth. However, this marks a pivotal moment – a moment where we determine who might pledge pardons.”

“I personally don’t believe such pledges are suitable for a campaign, but others do,” Hutchinson continued. “Hence, this is a crucial juncture for us.”

The former governor, though not yet qualified for the upcoming debate in Milwaukee, expressed optimism about meeting the criteria before the August 21 deadline. He stated, “We’re working towards making it to the debate; we’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”

To qualify for the first 2024 Republican National Committee debate, candidates must achieve a minimum of 1 percent support in at least three national polls or 1 percent in two national polls and one state poll from two early primary states. They also need to meet fundraising requirements, which include having a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors from 20 or more states and territories.

Additionally, the former governor emphasized the importance of candidates being forthright about the events of January 6, 2021, referring to the Capitol riot as “an attack on our democracy” and encouraging others not to be afraid to acknowledge this truth. He stated, “You can’t be intimidated by a teenager asking you about what happened on January 6.”

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