Former Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces run for president, says Trump should 'step aside' from the race after his indictment

  • Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump should "step aside" from the 2024 GOP presidential primaries.

  • "It is a distraction," the Arkansas political figure said of Trump's indictment by the Manhattan DA's office.

  • Trump has previously said he would not leave the presidential race if he were to be indicted.

Former Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas on Friday said former President Donald Trump should "step aside" from the 2024 presidential race after his indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

During an appearance on Fox Business, Hutchinson — who on Sunday announced that he is running for president — pointed to the integrity of serving in elected office as he spoke of the former president's criminal inquiry.

Trump was indicted following an investigation related to hush-money payments made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 presidential election, which he won over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"When a public official is indicted, I think with regard to the office, the office is more important than the person and they should step aside. That standard should apply here. It is a distraction," Hutchinson said on the network.

"It is not a good day for America, but the system has to play out here and we have to have confidence that it can," he continued.

Hutchinson, a former US attorney and congressman, remarked that he would not have brought forth charges related to the 2016 payment.

"This is a case that I would not have brought based on the facts that I understand. It doesn't make sense to me," he said.

"[The charges] better be very substantive if he wants to make his case in a way that does not seem simply political," he added.

Hutchinson, who now becomes the fourth declared candidate in the GOP presidential primary, told ABC News journalist Jonathan Karl on Sunday that his candidacy would offer a positive message to the country.

"I've traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country. I'm convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts," he said.

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