Hutchinson: 'I believe in providing an alternative' to Trump
07:08 - Source: CNN

Editor’s note: Asa Hutchinson, a Republican candidate for president of the United States, served as the 46th governor of Arkansas. He was appointed as the nation’s youngest US attorney under President Ronald Reagan. During President George W. Bush’s administration, he served as the Drug Enforcement Administration administrator and then as the nation’s first undersecretary for border and transportation security. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.

CNN  — 

Many do not realize the defining role the Republican Party has played in our nation’s history. It’s a party built by visionary and, at times, rugged and individualistic leaders with bold ideas, such as President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s federal interstate system and President Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” doctrine.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during an interview in his office Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Rogers, Arkansas.

These leaders motivated the American people to believe in themselves and to reach high to achieve their own American dreams. In doing so, they embodied the tenets of what is considered a classically conservative platform: limited government, fiscal responsibility, opportunity for all and the protection of individual liberties.

Over the last eight years, we — as a party and as a nation — have forgotten the type of individual our forefathers intended the president of the United States of America to be. We have forgotten what it’s like to live under the leadership of a president who looks forward, leads by example, instinctively puts the country before the party and has no issue setting ego aside to get things done.

The actions taken by former President Donald Trump demonstrate that he has chosen not to govern by honoring our shared conservative values. Instead, he has undermined the fabric of our democracy by questioning the outcome of the 2020 election and using violent rhetoric to stir protesters on January 6, 2021.

The problem? Once we started down that dark path, we, as Republicans, quickly lowered our standards. However, it’s not good enough to occasionally stand on our principles. Rather, our principles should serve as our north star without exception.

But that’s not the only way we’ve lowered our standards. We’ve done so when it comes to matters of public discourse. We should expect more from both our elected leaders and the Fourth Estate, the news media.

We must no longer accept blatant bias and partisan bickering as the norm from politicians or media personalities. This starts by moving past the misguided notion that the media is an enemy of the state and the people, a falsehood perpetuated by certain Republican leaders, like Trump, in recent years.

Unfortunately, we have created a culture where many Americans no longer revere journalism for its pursuit of truth and knowledge. But the reality is journalists used to be giants in our society. They carried a mandate to inform the public, derived from their objective purpose: to hold the government accountable while seeking the truth. And they still carry that mandate today.

At this moment in our nation’s story, we cannot afford to elect leaders who are focused only on themselves or on settling scores with political opponents. We need a consistent conservative who understands the limited role of government and believes in America as the beacon of freedom — including a free press — across the globe.

If both parties intentionally repeat the 2020 presidential election by nominating Joe Biden and Trump, respectively, they will only perpetuate the current state of affairs in our country.

I am a problem-solving conservative seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States. However, the essential mantle I wear is that of an American willing to serve.

Throughout my travels across the country, I have found that the majority of the American people want the government to return to protecting liberty, spending tax money responsibly and understanding the more limited role it should play within their lives. I agree with that sentiment.

I also believe that America is not defined by one person, just as one person does not represent the Republican Party. Instead, both America and the GOP are informed by a platform of policies, a legacy of leadership and a tradition of truth that empowers the American people to hold their government accountable, just as our Founding Fathers intended.

Our system of government — the Great American Experiment — empowers we, the people, to elect someone to embody the values we share and apply them to shape policy for the greater good. If the peaceful transfer of power has taught us anything, it is that we elect leaders to represent our will, not to impose their own upon our lives.

That is what sets the United States of America apart and has made us the envy of the free world. I am ready to serve as the leader who Americans — and the international community — can trust. I stand willing and able to protect our traditions and way of life at all costs.

Get Our Free Weekly Newsletter

America deserves leadership focused on what lies before us — just over the horizon — rather than what is in our rearview mirror. The next president of the United States must be forward-focused to ensure prosperity for ourselves and our children.

I am running for president of the United States of America because I believe that governing through the concept of being consistently conservative is not a complicated one; it is common sense.

It is vitally important that we return to commonsense solutions rather than divisive rhetoric. This will once again elevate the level of debate within our country and offer a course correction for the Republican Party.

The American people will measure our character and positions while considering who should be the next leader of our country. They will weigh the motives that drive us to run for public office. I hope the voters will make a judgment based on a new vision for America and the shared values that got us to this moment in history.

Our future as a free country is unlimited, but much is still at stake.