Biden, through aide, apologizes to Republican Hutchinson over DNC comment

By Nandita Bose and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden had a top aide call former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to apologize on Wednesday for criticism from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of Hutchinson’s failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, the White House said.

When Hutchinson pulled out of the Republican race on Tuesday, DNC national press secretary Sarafina Chitika issued a mocking statement.

“This news comes as a shock to those of us who could’ve sworn he had already dropped out,” Chitika said of Hutchinson, who picked up 191 votes, or .02% of the vote, in Iowa’s Republican caucuses on Tuesday.

In addition to being a former governor, Hutchinson also served as a member of the House of Representatives from Arkansas and had two senior positions in the administration of former Republican President George W. Bush.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden directed White House chief of staff Jeff Zients to call Hutchinson to apologize for the DNC statement and stress that it did not represent his views.

“President Biden has respect for Governor Hutchinson and admires the race that he ran. The president knows him to be a man of principle who cares about our country and has a strong record of public service,” she said.

Hutchinson told CNN that he appreciated the call from Zients and the apology for the “snarky” comment.

“To me that reflects the good parts of American politics. You fight hard but at the end of the day you want to make sure you treat each other with respect. So I appreciated the call,” he said.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve HollandEditing by Bill Berkrot)