▶ Watch Video: Asa Hutchinson calls Trump pardon discussions “inappropriate” during campaign

Washington — Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said it’s “inappropriate” for his GOP rivals to talk about pardoning former President Donald Trump if he is convicted in federal court.

The Justice Department unveiled new charges against Trump last week in a superseding indictment related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House and his alleged attempts to obstruct the investigation. Trump pleaded not guilty when he was initially charged.

Hutchinson told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump should not be pardoned for the good of the country. 

“That should not be any discussion during a presidential campaign. You don’t put pardons out there to garner votes,” he said. “…Anybody who promises pardons during a presidential campaign is not serving our system of justice well, and it’s inappropriate.” 

Before Trump was arraigned in the documents case, biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy vowed to pardon the former president if he’s convicted as soon as he’s sworn in. 

Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the U.N. in the Trump administration, has previously said she would be “inclined” to pardon Trump. She suggested to “Face the Nation” on Sunday that a pardon would be “in the best interest of the country.”

“I don’t want there to be all of this division over the fact that we have a president serving years in jail over a documents trial,” she said. 

Hutchinson said people who are angry about the Trump indictment and are attacking the U.S. justice system in response are “putting his personal good above the public good and above the common good.”

“They see differences as to how cases are handled,” Hutchinson said. “But that is not a defense in a case that’s been brought against Donald Trump.”

Hutchinson, who is 72, also criticized Haley’s calls for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75. 

“As a practical matter, you want a president to be in good health and … in a good mental state, but the tests are not constitutional,” he said. “It really is something that’s a throwaway line that catches people’s attention.” 

Hutchinson said he trusted voters “to make the right decisions.” 

“There’s a mental acuity test every time you go to Iowa and there’s a town hall meeting with the questions from the voters, they do a pretty good job of assessing those issues,” he said.