Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke out Tuesday against former President Donald Trump and urged fellow members of the GOP not to band together behind somebody he believes to be so divisive.
“Whenever we do not have the president in power from our party, you have divided leadership — you have many different voices,” Mr. Hutchinson said on CNN.
“And former President Trump is dividing our party, and so it’s important that we not unite with somebody who is dividing our party,” the outgoing two-term governor added.
Mr. Hutchinson, who is barred from running for reelection in 2022 because of term limits, also said he does not support the push to remove Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as Republican Conference Chair.
House Republicans are set to vote Wednesday on stripping Ms. Cheney of her standing as the party’s third-most powerful member of Congress following months of her facing backlash from within the GOP.
Ms. Cheney has repeatedly challenged Mr. Trump recently and his false assertions of voter fraud while the former president has continued to make baseless claims about his failed race for reelection. She was also the highest-ranking of the 10 House Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to impeach Mr. Trump for allegedly inciting his supporters to riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
“I don’t believe Liz Cheney should be ousted for a vote of conscience,” said Ms. Hutchinson. “I believe that we need to concentrate on more things that bring us together than to separate us. And going down and seeing former President Trump, to me, causes more division than anything else.”
Mr. Hutchinson suggested Republicans concentrate on strengthening the GOP rather than become divided because of internal strife amid Democrats maintaining control of the White House and Congress.
“Let’s talk about those ideas, let’s talk about the future, let’s talk about the differences with the Biden administration. And that’s what builds our party. That’s what brings people together. And that has to be our focus,” said Mr. Hutchinson.
In a plea to fellow Republicans last week, Ms. Cheney said Mr. Trump is “seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work” by denying he legitimately lost.
“We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process, Ms. Cheney wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post published last Wednesday.
Mr. Trump has since called on Republicans to replace Ms. Cheney as conference chair with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.