Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he supports ‘multiple voices’ representing GOP

The Arkansas governor tells “The View” co-hosts, “it’s critical that everyone gets vaccinated” but doesn’t believe the government should mandate vaccinations.
9:12 | 05/17/21

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Transcript for Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he supports ‘multiple voices’ representing GOP
Oh, it's me. A lot of people are feeling hopeful about a return to normalcy to the pandemic, your state's vaccination rate is at 29%. The president wants it at 70. What do you attribute the low rate in your state, and how are you going to handle it? Well, thank you, and, first of all, it's critical that everyone gets vaccinated. I've been vaccinated, my wife, my children have. Half my grandchildren have depending upon their age. That's critically important for us to get back to where we want in society. In terms of our vaccination rate in Arkansas, we're doing everything we can to encourage vaccinations. We're improving access. Getting it to the rural areas of our state, the hard to reach places. Part of the challenge is real estate makes it more difficult. It's also just the hesitancy that we see, the reluctance about government mandates. We're doing everything we can to educate and encourage more people to get vaccinated. One thing I'm very pleased about the CDC changing their position about wearing a mask is that people needed to understand there's a connection with freedom of life and not wearing a mask and being able to go about normal activities and getting the vaccination. Hopefully this new guideline and emphasis will encourage more people to see there is reward for getting a vaccine. Of course we lifted our mask mandate in Arkansas long before the CDC changed their guidelines and I hope that was encouragement here and we're seeing people get the vaccine as a result of that. You recently directed your state to end the expanding unemployment benefits ten weeks early, cutting payments to as many as 47,000 jobless arkansans. You say it's an effort to encourage those people to return to work, but given the relatively low vaccination rate in your state we just mentioned what do you say to those who might still have concerns about heading back to work? Or maybe those who don't have steady child care in place yet? Good points and good questions. The answer is we're doing away with the supplemental payment, the extra payment that encouraged some people to stay at home or to slow down the return to work. We've got jobs aplenty in Arkansas. Our unemployment rate is 4.4%. Employers are looking for people to work. First of all, I terms of health, just get a vaccine. If you get a vaccine, then you should feel totally comfortable going back to work without any hesitancy. So that in and of itself should be an encouragement. In terms of child care, that's an important point, we have as a result of the stimulus packages passed in congress, we have $170 million that is available for child care assistance. So, if you're working for an essential industry or you're low income, we have plenty of money and more is coming to help with child care assistance. If you have rental challenges, we have rental assistance money. We have utility assistance money. There's plenty of assistance to help those. Hopefully that will help them get over the hump and get back to work as everyone needs them to do. Governor, I think the left is trafficking in fear porn. You've banned government entities in Arkansas from requiring proof of vaccination for employees or to access public services, but some states like Florida, Texas and Montana have gone a step further banning even private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. When it comes to vaccine passports or mask mandates should businesses continue to make those decisions individually or do you think we need some sort of consistency across the board before things can start to return to normal? What do you say to states that have returned to normal? Well, you know, we believe that the states ought to be able to govern their own affairs in terms of these kinds of health requirements and these types of issues. In terms of vaccine passports, that's a catch-all phrase that becomes loaded. No, I don't believe that government ought to mandate people to get a vaccine they can make their individual decisions. We want them to. A mandate is not appropriate, not the role of government in this instance. Secondly, when it comes to private businesses, sure they ought to be able to make their decision. If you're in a nursing home and the nursing home operator wants to have their employees to be vaccinated, that ought to be the prerogative of the business owner to be able to make that decision. Now, most of the businesses are not doing that, but that, to me, should be their prerogative as a private sector business owner. No government mandates. Let's leave private sector decisions to them, whether it becomes a mask in their business or whether it's the requirement for employees to be vaccinated. Okay, governor. Liz Cheney was removed from Republican leadership by an overwhelming vote in the house last week. You were a vocal defender of hers saying she shouldn't be ousted. Kevin Mccarthy insists the GOP is a big tent party that embraces free thought and debate. When you see what happened to Liz Cheney, what does that say to you as who has a place in the Republican party? Do you question your own place there now? No, I don't question my place in the Republican party. I've been fighting for the Republican party for over 40 years, which dates me a little bit. We were very much of a minority in Arkansas when I became engaged. We're now the majority party. I want to give back to our principles. I know that we have the country at stake. We want to have a message that resonates with the average voter as to the direction that we go. In terms of Liz Cheney, I know they did not want to have somebody outside the tent always talking about the election of January 6th, but the fact is everyone in America sees thiss a punitive measure for someone speaking their conscience and that's not good. Secondly, it looks like the former president is directing who can serve in leadership and that's not good. You know, we have many voices in the Republican party. I contrasted -- I compare it to "The view." You have multiple voices representing "The view." There's multiple voices that represent the Republican party today. We should not de facto make the former president as the guardian of our party or the leader of our party. There's many different voices out there. I want to be one. Liz Cheney is certainly one. So we need to be united in the next election. We need to win in 2022 and to do that we have to come together and we have to come together around principles and not simply a personality. So, one thing, governor. 70% of Republicans believe the lie that Joe Biden did not win the election. How can you say that it's still the Republican party? You believe it, don't you? Do you believe that Biden won the election? Absolutely Biden won the election. Trump lost the election. In terms of, yes, in Arkansas you have the majority of arkansans still supportive of president trump. They like what he did in office. Regretfully many of them believe the election was stolen. The election was not stolen. We followed the rules in govern the election. What's the role of Republican like Liz Cheney, let's educate, let's speak the truth. I want to speak the truth. Over time I think history is going to say that this message is important and that people will understand what actually happened.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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