Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas thrilled liberals and outraged conservatives with his Tuesday appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to defend vetoing a ban on gender confirming treatments or surgery for transgender youth.
The interview: During the combative interview, Hutchinson said "limited government principles" had required his Monday veto of the bill which was quickly overridden by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
- "I go back to William F. Buckley, I go back to Ronald Reagan, the principles of our party, which believes in a limited role of government," Hutchinson said, describing himself as a "person of faith."
- Hutchinson also said he was a "person of faith" and would support a prohibition on chemical castration or gender confirming surgery for children, but "this bill goes way too far" and would harm minors already receiving hormone-blocking hormones to prevent puberty.
WATCH: Tucker Carlson and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson debate the governor's decision to veto a bill banning gender surgeries for minors that was later overridden by the Arkansas state legislature.— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 7, 2021
Gov. Hutchinson says that the bill "invokes the state" in medical decisions. pic.twitter.com/kwzGtTwtle
Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Hutchinson of having come out as "pro-choice on the question of chemical castration of children" and questioned his claims to have studied the science on issue.
- Carlson challenged Hutchinson to explain why he was OK with protecting children from alcohol, marriage or tattoos but not from the "life-altering" and potentially "very negative" gender confirming treatments.
- He repeatedly suggested "corporate interests" had gotten to Hutchinson and finally asked: "10 years ago, if somebody had said, 'Hey, Asa Hutchins, you're going to be the governor of Arkansas, and you're going to veto a bill that would have protected children from chemical castration.' What do you think you would've said?"
Hutchinson responded by reiterating his concerns about minors already on hormone blockers and about equal treatment of children, parents and health care providers under the law.
- Daily Beast contributing editor Justin Baragona was among those who highlighted a moment when Hutchinson pushed back on Carlson.
Thank you @AsaHutchinson You are a Republican I can support. You are level headed, empathetic, and practical. From a Bentonville resident.— Amy Greer (@greerfam) April 7, 2021
Hutchinson just weeks ago faced charges of anti-LGBT discrimination from the left for signing a measure allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections.
But conservative commentators, including John Bradford Williams, declared Hutchinson's political career effectively over.
— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) April 7, 2021
Podcaster Buck Sexton and others recalled Carlson's grilling of Republican Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota last month over her effective veto of a transgender sports ban.
Tucker Carlson just ended the career of another fraud.
Populists on the right, like American Affairs deputy editor Gladden Pappin, mocked the very idea of limited government conservatism as outmoded.
Hutchinson somehow manages to make Kristi Noem’s recent catastrophe on Tucker’s show look almost coherent by comparison-— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) April 7, 2021
This is 9 minutes of political nuclear meltdown⬇️ https://t.co/x0ZDcKT2fj
Lol. @AsaHutchinson invoked William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan and “limited government.”— Gladden Pappin (@gjpappin) April 7, 2021
Hopefully no one ever does that again
New York Post opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari thought he could hear the movement's "death knell."
That ringing you heat is the Arkansas Gov. @AsaHutchinson moronic veto, sounding the death knell of "limited-government" conservatism: If "conservatism" can't defend kids against mutilation, it needs to die. And it will die.— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) April 5, 2021
"Hutchinson wasn’t prepared for this interview, and he’s exactly the kind of Republican that should have no part in the future of the party," RedState blogger "Bonchie" reflected on Wednesday.
- "If a GOP politician can’t stand up to prevent physical abuse of children, then that person doesn’t have any business being a Republican at all.
Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee’s governors have signed laws this year banning transgender athletes from participating in sports based on declared gender identity.
- More than two dozens states are considering similar legislation.
- A recent Politico/Morning consult poll found 53% of registered voters support such bans, including 74% of Republicans.