GOP presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson was booed Saturday when he told a Republican summit that there is “significant likelihood” that former President Trump will be found guilty of a felony next year.
The former Arkansas governor told the Florida Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, Florida, that such an outcome will make it harder for Republicans down the ticket to win their races if Trump, who is leading in the polls, wins the 2024 Republican nomination.
Trump is facing dozens of felony counts in multiple cases, including accusations of falsifying records related to alleged hush money payments, the removal of national security documents from the White House and election subversion following the 2020 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly claimed that the prosecutions are politically motivated.
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Hutchinson cited his own experience as a prosecutor to say that “there is a significant likelihood that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury on a felony offense next year.”
“That may or may not happen. Before you vote in March, and it might not make any difference to you, but it will make a difference for our chances to attract independent voters in November. It will make a difference for those down-ticket races for Congress and Senate, and it will weaken the GOP for decades to come. As a party, we must support the rule of law,” he said.
The claim was met with boos from the crowd, one of a number of instances where anti-Trump statements by Republican candidates. Both former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and former Rep. Will Hurd have been booed for making perceived anti-Trump statements.
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“We cannot win as a country without integrity in the White House,” Hutchinson said on Saturday. “And while some will ignore that destructive behavior of the former president, I assure you we ignore it at our own peril. The next generation will not look favorably back on this time.“
A Quinnipiac national poll this week shows that Trump stands at 64% support in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 15% and former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 6%.
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The survey indicates Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Christie and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy each at 3%, with everyone else at 1% or less.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.