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President Trump Endorses Arkansas Governor Hutchinson's Re-election Bid

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson
Arkansas Times

As Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson faces a challenge from the right in Tuesday’s Republican primary election, he now has the backing of President Trump.

The endorsement came in the form of a tweet Monday evening after Hutchinson and four other Republican governors dined with the president at the White House to discuss border security and other issues. Trump wrote on Twitter that Hutchinson had “done an incredible job with a focus on lower taxes, border security and crime prevention.”

The first-term governor is being challenged in the primary by Hot Springs gun range owner Jan Morgan who has accused Hutchinson of not being conservative enough. She has called for cutting government spending and eliminating the state income tax.

Later Monday night, Hutchinson released a statement which did not mention the endorsement. He said that President Trump thanked the governor for agreeing to his request to deploy a small group of Arkansas National Guard troops to assist in efforts at the southern U.S. border. Hutchinson said he also discussed with the president the importance of agriculture to Arkansas’s economy and that he believes Trump’s trade negotiations will be beneficial to the state.

I appreciate President Trump for hosting a handful of governors this evening at the White House to discuss important issues facing our country, including border security, global trade, and the opioid crisis, to name a few. Earlier this month, I deployed Arkansas National Guard military transport and personnel to help assist with the president’s enhanced border security efforts. Tonight, he took time to express his thanks to our guard members for their deployment and cooperation. As for global trade, I explained the importance of agriculture to Arkansas’s economy and how key global trade is to our state’s bottom-line. Our conversation left me with even more confidence that global trade will not be diminished in this administration and that Arkansas will emerge a stronger partner globally as a result of the president’s negotiations. And finally, I thanked the president for his leadership in the fight against drugs—both at the border and the opioid crisis where he’s inspired greater prevention nationwide. It was a productive and substantive conversation, and I appreciate the president for his time and hospitality.

Also at the dinner were Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

Michael Hibblen is News Director of UA Little Rock Public Radio. A 34-year radio veteran, he oversees the KUAR News staff, plans coverage and edits stories while also reporting and anchoring newscasts.