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Former Trump White House Aide Denounces Trump, Supports Biden at Harvard IOP Forum

The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics hosted Cassidy Hutchinson, author and former White House Aide, in a discussion on Wednesday evening.
The Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics hosted Cassidy Hutchinson, author and former White House Aide, in a discussion on Wednesday evening. By Emily T. Schwartz
By Hable G. Fitsum and Anna Zhou, Contributing Writers

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy J. Hutchinson voiced support for U.S. President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential race at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum on Wednesday.

During the event, which was moderated by IOP Director Setti D. Warren, Hutchinson said former President Donald Trump “stands for authoritarian rule, not the rule of law,” in a reference to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Hutchinson also said that the upcoming presidential election is “so much bigger than tribal politics.”

With Trump pledging to fire government employees and reinstate his loyalists to their positions, this election is about “the survival of our country,” Hutchinson said.

“If we want to continue having elections in the future, we need to make sure we vote for the candidate who ensures we can survive as a country,” she said. “And that candidate isn’t Donald Trump.”

Hutchinson said that though she, as a Republican, disagreed with many of Biden’s policies, she still supported him for the presidency because he is “a man of character and of decency.”

As political tensions continue to build in the race, Hutchinson pointed to the importance of practicing empathy and encouraged more productive conversations.

Hutchinson described her trajectory to the White House as “atypical,” citing an interest in public service despite being “born into a family that was fairly skeptical, if not very skeptical and mistrusting of the federal government.”

Hutchinson said she attended Trump’s first rally after he took office in 2016, recalling how it was the first moment she felt drawn to him.

“I felt that he was really there to represent the American people, and I wanted to be part of that,” Hutchinson said.

During her time on Capitol Hill, Hutchinson formed very close connections with some of Trump’s strongest allies, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark R. Meadows, who recruited Hutchinson immediately after his appointment.

“Once I at least entered the ‘inner circle,’ I pledged my fidelity to the United States Constitution,” Hutchinson said.

But, Hutchinson said, she “wasn’t critically thinking about” how she was “becoming more and more loyal to Donald Trump and to Mark Meadows.”

In particular, Hutchinson pointed to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as a “really heartbreaking moment.”

Hutchinson said it was disturbing to not only hear “the former president’s reluctance to put out a statement and that he was enjoying watching what was happening and that he had wanted to join his supporters,” but also hear “my colleagues also amplify that.”

Citing Jan. 6 as a turning point for her, Hutchinson said it cemented her growing concern of “whether or not I was working for the principles” that she had pledged herself to.

Hutchinson, who testified at a 2022 hearing organized by the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, described Jan. 6 as “a stain on our democracy.”

By testifying, Hutchinson said, she hope to serve as a voice of truth.

“In that moment, I saw that there was an opportunity, hopefully, that I could find my way back to the right side of history,” she said.

But Hutchinson’s testimony has also faced criticism after another witness disputed her account of events involving Trump on Jan. 6. Trump later called for her to be prosecuted for the testimony.

In an interview with The Crimson after the forum, Hutchinson said Trump’s calls for her prosecution spoke to his “lack of character” and likened his actions to those of a dictator.

”He is running on a platform of revenge,” she said. “He has pledged to try to imprison his detractors.”

“That’s what we see in third-world countries,” she added “That’s what we see in dictatorships.”

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