- Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump is “politically” and “morally” responsible for the Capitol riot.
- He added that Republicans have some “soul-searching” to do about the events of January 6, 2021.
- He said he hoped the future of the GOP would be “different” from when Trump led it.
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said this weekend that he thinks former President Donald Trump is politically and morally responsible for the Capitol riot.
Hutchinson made the comments during an appearance on Fox News Sunday days after the first public hearing held by the House panel investigating the events of the January 6, 2021 riot.
The governor told the outlet that he thought Trump bears responsibility for the riot but was unsure if it would necessarily extend to criminal culpability.
“You can make the case, and I would agree, that he’s politically, morally responsible for much of what has happened, but in terms of criminal liability, I think the committee has a long way to go before they could establish that,” Hutchinson said.
He added that he thought Trump made a “costly error” for the GOP with his response to the riot, and said he hoped the GOP would act differently in the future.
“I hope that the future of the Republican Party is different than [under] President Trump’s leadership,” he said. “I hope we move in a different direction. I believe that what happened on January 6 is a lot at his feet.”
Hutchinson said he believed many Republicans were looking for an “off-ramp” where Trump’s leadership of the party was concerned.
“Obviously, what President Trump, there’s a lot of things that he did that were very good that the base and I agree with, but he got off track on January 6, and that was a costly error for our democracy,” he added.
Hutchinson also said that Republicans had a “lot of soul-searching” to do, chiefly with regard to doing what’s right for the party’s future and America’s democracy and not simply appealing to the “instincts of some of our base.”
Hutchinson has for months expressed his dislike for Trump’s leadership of the GOP.
In January, Hutchinson told Insider that he did not think Trump should lead the US again, pointing out that there are many “choices out there.” In October, the governor also called Trump’s fixation on baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election “a recipe for disaster” in the 2022 midterms.
In February, Hutchinson also warned against letting Trump “define” the GOP and vowed not to back the latter’s 2024 re-election run if it happens.
The January 6 committee will hold the second of its six hearings on Monday morning, following its first primetime hearing last week. The panel’s members have said that their investigation has uncovered enough evidence to indict Trump for trying to invalidate President Joe Biden’s win.