The White House on Wednesday apologized to former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson after the Democratic National Committee mocked his recently suspended Republican presidential campaign.
"President Biden has deep respect for Gov. Hutchinson and admires the race that he ran. The president knows him to be a man of principle who cares about our country and has a strong record of public service," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
"This morning, the chief of staff here, Jeff Zients, called the governor to convey this and apologized for the statement that did not represent the president's views," Jean-Pierre said.
The apology came after the DNC taunted Hutchinson when he suspended his campaign following a sixth-place finish in Monday's Iowa caucuses, garnering fewer than 200 votes in the contest, behind little-known Ryan Binkley. Former President Donald Trump coasted to victory, besting his nearest opponent by about 30 points and taking more than 50% of the vote.
"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 Tuesday statement.
Chitika did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News about Jean-Pierre's remarks.
Hutchinson told ABC News that he appreciated the call from Zients.
"I am gratified that so many from both parties have rebuffed this type of ridicule as unnecessary and demeaning to all in the public arena. From my standpoint this is all very minor but both parties need to rise above pettiness and focus on things that matter to Americans," he said in a statement.
Hutchinson, who has a lengthy political resume, including serving as the first administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and years in the House before being elected as Arkansas governor for two terms until 2023, ran on a traditional conservative platform in the 2024 race.
He was one of the few Republican candidates to openly criticize Trump, including saying that Trump should not be president again if he is ultimately convicted of a crime. (Trump denies wrongdoing.)
"My message of being a principled Republican with experience and telling the truth about the current front runner did not sell in Iowa," he said in a statement on Tuesday when announcing that he was leaving the race. "I stand by the campaign I ran. I answered every question, sounded the warning to the GOP about the risks in 2024 and presented hope for our country’s future."
"[My wife] Susan and I are blessed beyond measure," Hutchinson said, "and we are grateful for the opportunity to have fought in the political arena for America."
White House apologizes to Asa Hutchinson for Democratic Party mocking his campaign originally appeared on abcnews.go.com