Though Disagreements Linger, Hutchinson Still Supports Trump After Meeting

Jun 15, 2016

Donald Trump during a campaign appearance in Little Rock earlier this year.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says despite some disagreements with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he’ll continue supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Hutchinson was among a group of Republican governors who met with Trump in New York on Tuesday. Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Hutchinson said the effectiveness of a potential Trump presidency in preventing terrorism, like the recent mass shooting in Orlando, largely depends on who the real estate investor's policy advisors are.

"He’s got a long ways to go and be able to articulate this in exactly the right way," said Hutchinson, "but I am convinced that he’ll be able to address terrorism effectively. I think his heart’s in the right direction, he knows we've got to do something, and I think he has the capacity to build the right team that will give him good answers.”

Hutchinson is a former undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. The governor says he disagrees with Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country, but says there should be better information sharing between federal and local law enforcement. He also said there should be “closer scrutiny of people who come from a particular geographic region that have a long history of terrorism.” 

Aside from airing differences, Hutchinson said the meeting was an opportunity discuss with Trump how various policy ideas can be exchanged during the upcoming GOP National Convention. Hutchinson also sized up Trump’s campaign organization.

“What struck me was that it’s a small operation, that he’s got to really gear up for the general election. There’s a consensus that it’s very, very important to win in November,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said he told Trump in the meeting that there “will be continued areas of disagreement.” Recently, Hutchinson criticized Trump over the candidate’s claims of bias on the part of a federal judge presiding over a lawsuit involving the now-defunct Trump University.

Orchestrated by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the meeting was also attended by Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi, according to Hutchinson.