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Asa Hutchinson's anti-Trump presidential campaign mocked by DNC

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Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson spent much of his long-shot presidential campaign criticizing former President Donald Trump over the felony cases against him, but his message failed to resonate with voters, and he dropped out Tuesday — which elicited this dismissive statement from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

"This news comes as a shock to those of us who could've sworn he had already dropped out," DNC national press secretary Sarafina Chitika said in a statement. 

Conservative and liberal leaders alike blasted the party for going after Hutchinson. 

"It's disrespectful, it's mean-spirited, it's unnecessary, and it's obnoxious. I'm embarrassed for my party. My campaign is focused on beating Trump, it's a shame Biden's DNC isn't doing the same," Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips told CBS News in a statement.

In a statement to CBS News, Hutchinson said he is "gratified that so many from both parties have rebuffed this type of ridicule as unnecessary and demeaning to all in the public arena." 

White House chief of staff Jeff Zients called Hutchinson Wednesday on behalf of President Biden "to apologize for the statement that did not represent the president's views," said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. "President Biden has deep respect for Gov. Hutchinson and admires the race that he ran," she added.

Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois criticized the DNC statement on X, calling it "stupid and dumb." 

Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania also expressed disappointment in his party, saying that "while Gov. Hutchinson is a conservative and holds many views with which I disagree, I have admired the way he has courageously spoken out against Donald Trump."

"Both parties need to rise above pettiness and focus on things that matter to Americans," Hutchinson also said in his statement. 

During the first Republican primary debate, Hutchinson, along with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, were the only two candidates who did not raise their hands when asked if they would still support former President Donald Trump as their party's candidate if he were convicted in a court of law. Hutchinson later said that he would not support someone convicted of a serious felony and even questioned Trump's eligibility to seek the office under the so-called insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Following news that the Supreme Court agreed to review the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to disqualify Trump from the ballot, Hutchinson wrote on X: "The Court's acceptance of this case is good news. The result will define the guardrails for the election. I expect the Court keeps Trump on the ballot for now but it will leave the door open for future challenges. This cloud should concern the GOP." 

Hutchinson is not the first major GOP candidate dinged by the DNC on his way out of the primary race. It also issued similar statements against Tim Scott and more recently, Vivek Ramaswamy, after they suspended their campaigns.

Prior to serving as Arkansas governor from 2015 to 2023, Hutchinson represented the state's 3rd District in Congress and was a member of former President Geroge W. Bush's Cabinet. An appointment by President Ronald Reagan started his political career back in 1982, when Hutchinson was named U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.   

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