Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson drew boos Saturday when he told a Republican summit there was a “significant possibility” former President Trump would be found guilty of a felony next year.
The former Arkansas governor told the Florida Freedom Summit in Kissimmee, Fla., that such an outcome would make it difficult for Republicans to win their races if Trump, who is leading in the polls, wins the 2024 Republican nomination. .
Trump faces dozens of felonies in multiple cases, including charges of falsifying records related to alleged hush money payments, removing national security documents from the White House and election tampering after 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 saying that “there is a good chance that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury of a felony next year.”
“This may or may not happen. Before you vote in March, and it may not make any difference to you, but it will make a difference to our chances of attracting independent voters in November. It will make a difference to those who are down on the ticket in congressional and Senate races and 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 several instances where the Republican candidates have spoken out against Trump. Both former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and former Rep. Will Hurd have come under fire for making perceived anti-Trump statements.
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“We cannot win as a country without integrity in the White House,” Hutchinson said Saturday. “And while some will ignore this destructive behavior by the former president, I assure you we ignore it at our peril. The next generation will not look kindly on this time.“
A national Quinnipiac poll this week shows Trump at 64% in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis at 15% and former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 6% .
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The survey shows Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Christie and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy each at 3 percent, with everyone else at 1 percent or less.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.