Asa Hutchinson lashed out on Sunday at Donald Trump for being ‘divisive’ after the former president attacked several Republican leaders during a GOP fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago.
During the Saturday fundraiser, Trump said he was ‘disappointed’ in his former Vice President Mike Pence and claimed Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is a ‘dumb son of a bit*h.’
Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ host Jake Tapper: ‘Well, anything that is divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting in the battles in Washington and at the state level.’
‘In some ways, it’s not a big deal what he said, but at the same time whenever it draws attention, we don’t need that,’ he continued.
‘We need unity. We need to be focused together,’ he added. ‘We have slim majorities or slim numbers in Washington and we got battles to fight. So we need to get beyond that.’
Also during his appearance Sunday morning, Hutchinson defended his decision to veto a bill banning doctors from treating transgender minors with hormones – a measure that ultimately passed when the Arkansas Congress overwhelmingly overrode his veto.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson slammed Donald Trump on Sunday morning for being ‘divisive’ in attacking GOP leadership at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser Saturday. He said: ‘We need unity. We need to be focused together’
During a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago Saturday, Trump reportedly said ‘I was disappointed’ in Mike Pence and called Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell a ‘dumb son of a b***h’
Trump and former first lady Melania appeared at the GOP fundraiser Saturday evening at his Southern Florida resort
‘Well, any time you go against the grain, you’re going to get that kind of blowback,’ Hutchinson told CNN. ‘I think it’s healthy for our society, I think it’s helpful for our party to have that kind of vigorous debate about an important issue.’
Hutchinson said his decision was ultimately a Republican one, because he felt the bill was an overreach of the limited government conservatives usually strive to achieve.
Trump, last week, attacked Hutchinson’s veto – at the same time endorsing his former press secretary, Sarah Sanders, in her bid to become Arkansas’ next governor.
The former president claimed in a statement Thursday that Hutchinson supports ‘chemical castration of children’.
Hutchinson also defended on Sunday his decision to veto a bill banning doctors from giving transgender children hormones: ‘Well, any time you go against the grain, you’re going to get that kind of blowback’
‘Asa Hutchinson, the lightweight RINO Governor of Arkansas, just vetoed a Bill that banned the CHEMICAL CASTRATION OF CHILDREN,’ Trump released in a statement under the letterhead from his Save America political action committee.
”Bye-bye Asa,’ that’s the end of him!’ he added.
Trump has used emails through his PAC and ‘Office of the 45th President’ to send out statements issuing endorsements and attacking defectors.
‘RINO’, which means ‘Republican in Name Only’, and has become known as a popular insult to wield against GOP lawmakers and politicians, is a term Trump often uses against his critics and defectors.
The former president deemed Hutchinson’s career over and slipped in an endorsement of his former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in the statement.
Trump issued a statement Thursday claiming Hutchinson supports ‘chemical castration of children’
‘Fortunately for the Great State of Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders will do a fantastic job as your next Governor!’ Trump wrote.
It’s never been a question whether Trump would publicly back his former spokesperson, who left in July 2019 and was succeeded by Kayleigh McEnany. It was clear she was leaving the administration to spend more time with her family and think about her career post-White House.
Sanders officially announced on January 25, 2021 that she would run to become Arkansas’ next governor in the November 2022 election.
Hutchinson is in his second term, and the state of Arkansas has a two-term limit on governors.
On Friday, Trump held another event at Mar-a-Lago with Sanders where he formally endorsed the mother of three.
Sanders is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, who served as Arkansas’ governor from 1996-2007.
Trump also sent another statement from his Save America PAC on Thursday endorsing Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in his reelection.
‘He fights against the Swamp in Washington, the Radical Left Liberals, and especially the destructive RINOS, of which there are far too many, in Congress,’ Trump said of Paul in his statement.
‘Rand will continue to stand up for our great AMERICA FIRST policies because he believes in stopping wasteful spending, defending our Second Amendment rights, and taking care of our Military and our Vets,’ Trump continued. ‘He has my Complete and Total Endorsement for another term in the U.S. Senate.’
Trump also held court Friday at his resort where he endorsed his former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for governor of Arkansas
Sanders, who is running for Arkansas governor, posted a picture to Instagram on Saturday thanking Trump for endorsing her at Mar-a-Lago on Friday
Trump is using his statements through his PAC and former president’s office as a means to get his messages out after he was booted from Twitter following the January 6 Capitol attack.
These messages include endorsements and attacks – like on Hutchinson.
Tensions between the former president and Arkansas governor have been publicly boiling ever since the January 6 Capitol attack.
Trump told an audience of Republican Party donors on Saturday that the COVID-19 vaccine should be named after him as he admonished them to call it ‘the Trumpcine.’
He also called the November election in which Joe Biden won ‘bulls**t,’ according to the Washington Post , which cited an attendee, who also said he spoke for about an hour at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort for a party fundraiser.
He said he wished former Vice President Mike Pence had possessed the ‘courage’ to send the certification of the Electoral College votes back to state legislatures.
‘I like him so much. I was disappointed,’ Trump said, according to the Post.
Most Democrats even think he won the election, Trump said, according to the Post, but they won’t say it out loud.
He repeated a line from 2015 calling immigrants crossing the border illegally violent criminals, this time saying ‘they’re coming in from the Middle East.’
‘They’re not sending their best people. You have murderers, you have rapists, you have drug dealers,’ Trump said, according to the Post.
The former president also hit out at Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the former Republican Senate Majority Leader who’s since fallen out with Trump after pinning blame on him for the January Capitol riots.
McConnell is a ‘dumb son of a bit*h,’ Trump said in his Saturday remarks, according to a CNN reporter who was told by a person in the room.
During the Saturday talk, Trump said some have told them there were ‘more than a million’ people at the rally that preceded the riots, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, Trump said he will help the GOP win seats in 2022 congressional elections but shed no new light on whether he will seek a second term in 2024.
Trump played host to a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago Club for Republican National Committee donors who are spending the weekend charting the future course of the party in Palm Beach, Florida.
‘We are gathered tonight to talk about the future of the Republican Party – and what we must do to set our candidates on a course to victory,’ Trump said, according to a prepared text of his speech to the group seen by Reuters.
‘I stand before you this evening filled with confidence that in 2022, we are going to take back the House (of Representatives) and we are going to reclaim the Senate. And then in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House,’ he said.
Trump is seen above mingling at the fundraiser (left). Melania is pictured at the event, right
While a staunch Republican, Hutchinson has shared some views and made some decisions that go against establishment GOP perspectives – including his decision this week to go against his own state legislature.
On Tuesday, the Arkansas House and Senate, which are overwhelmingly Republican, voted to override Hutchinson’s veto.
This means Arkansas is now the first state that will bar doctors from providing certain treatment to transgender minors – like irreversible hormone treatment that could delay, stunt or, in some cases, stop puberty.
Hutchinson vetoed the legislation on Monday, calling it ‘a vast government overreach.’ He also claimed the bill was well intentioned and predicted there would be a successful override vote.
The House voted 71 to 24 on Tuesday to override the veto, followed shortly thereafter by the Senate, 25 to eight – even though only a simple majority was needed in each chamber.
The bill will become law 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is currently scheduled to end on April 30.
At least 16 other states are considering similar legislation taking aim at treatment for children who identify as transgender.
Critics claim these laws will lead to more suicides, while supporters feel it will protect underage individuals from taking medical measures – most times permanent – that they will later regret as an adult or teen.