GOP governor says many Republicans are quietly seeking an 'off-ramp' from Trump's bogus election-fraud claims

GOP governor says many Republicans are quietly seeking an 'off-ramp' from Trump's bogus election-fraud claims
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson being sworn into a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, June 22, 2021.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the GOP wants an "off-ramp" from Trump's election falsehoods.
  • Ahead of the second January 6 hearing, he said much of the party wants new leadership beyond Trump.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said that much of the Republican Party is looking for an "off-ramp" from former President Donald Trump's bogus theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

Speaking to "Fox News Sunday" host Bret Baier, Hutchinson said Sunday that Trump is "politically and morally responsible" for much of the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

He suggested that many Republicans are looking for alternative leadership as Trump continues to falsely insist on the claim that inspired those riots — that there was widespread election fraud.

"[...] For him to continue to push that theory, I agree is the wrong direction for the Republican Party," said Hutchinson.

"I think there's many Republicans that are looking for an off-ramp, new opportunities … to find leadership in the future."


He did not specify whether he meant ordinary GOP voters, or elected officials, mainly of whom have vocally endorsed Trump's claims.

Hutchinson's comments came ahead of Monday evening's planned hearings from the January 6 committee, which began on Thursday.

After a year and a half and more than 40 lawsuits, no evidence of widespread election fraud has been found. Then-Attorney General Bill Barr said, in testimony played at Thursday's hearing, the idea was "bullshit," and that he told Trump so.

Asked about the future of the Republican Party amid these deliberations, Hutchinson said: "I hope that the future of the Republican Party is different than former President Trump's leadership. I hope we move in a different direction."

He added: "I think Republicans need to do a lot of soul-searching as to what is the right thing here, what is the right thing to say for our party and our democracy and our future, and not simply appeal to the basest instincts of some of our base."


He expressed doubt that the January 6 committee would amass enough evidence to find Trump criminally liable, and suggested the Democrats were unwise for attempting to make a new legal case.

"I think the Democrats make a mistake if they simply want to relitigate what they did in the impeachment," he said.

In January this year, Hutchinson — who is the GOP leader of the National Governors' Association — told Insider that Trump should not lead the party again. He was one of the first prominent GOP lawmakers to urge Trump to engage in a transition of leadership to President Joe Biden.

Hutchinson has reached his term limit and is due to leave office in November. His likely successor is Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who secured the party's nomination in May and had Hutchinson's endorsement.