WASHINGTON (NBC News) — Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that “anybody” should be free to challenge President Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primary amid accusations from Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan that the party is trying to stifle any opposition to Trump.
But during his appearance on NBC’s Sunday broadcast of “Meet the Press,” Hutchinson admitted it will be “very difficult” for any Republican looking to unseat Trump in a primary and that it’s not surprising the Republican National Committee supports the president.
“This is President Trump’s RNC in the sense that he appoints the chairman. So obviously there is something that is pro the White House and the administration. But obviously in our system of democracy and in our party, anybody is free to make the challenge,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s a more difficult environment than others. In this case, with President Trump’s record, with what he’s accomplished, it’d be very difficult for somebody to mount a successful challenge at this point.”
Saber-rattling about a significant primary challenge to Trump took a turn last week when Hogan criticized the RNC amid its decision to announce its “undivided support” for Trump’s reelection during its winter meeting as well as its hand-in-glove relationship with Trump’s reelection organization.
“Typically they try to be fair arbiters of a process and I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been involved in the Republican Party for most of my life. It’s unprecedented. And in my opinion it’s not the way we should be going about our politics,” Hogan told Politico.
“What are they afraid of?”
RNC spokeswoman Cassie Smedile told Politico in a statement in response to Hogan that “President Trump doesn’t need any assistance to protect him from primary challengers. He has an unprecedented level of support among Republican voters. The unanimous resolution in support of the president’s reelection at our winter meeting showed just that.”