The phenomenon of woke political agendas making their way into corporate board rooms across the country has accelerated rapidly in recent months, and one governor may be about to learn the hard way that allowing such leftist demands to influence legislation can have career-ending consequences.
Amid a heated discussion over his veto of an Arkansas bill designed to ban gender-reassignment surgery and treatment for minors, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson denied that corporate influence played any role in his decision, but that assertion was rapidly torn to shreds by Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a way that has completely destroyed the governor’s future political career.
The controversy arose regarding a bill recently passed by the Arkansas state legislature designed to prohibit “gender-affirming” care such as hormone therapy and surgical intervention for those under 18 years of age, which Hutchinson subsequently vetoed, as the Associated Press noted. The Republican-controlled House and Senate, however, ultimately overrode that veto on Tuesday.
During an on-air segment with Carlson on Tuesday, Hutchinson discussed his position on the matter and in response to a question about his deliberative process, emphatically declared that he had not engaged in discussions with corporate elites headquartered in his state about their preferred action on the legislation, saying according to Fox News, “Tucker, I answered that question, and I said, no I have not.”
In apparent skepticism of Hutchinson’s disclaimer, Carlson on Wednesday revisited the governor’s claim and raised the issue of a statement issued by Tom Walton of the Walton Foundation, founded by the family of Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton, in which the corporate scion asserted:
We are alarmed by the string of policy targeting LGBTQ people in Arkansas. This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state.
We support Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recent veto of discriminatory policy and implore government, business and community leaders to consider the impact of existing and future policy that limits basic freedoms and does not promote inclusiveness in our communities and economy.
Carlson took the opportunity to blast Hutchinson, saying, “we had to take his word for it. He was very emphatic. It looks like, how to we put this, lying,” adding, “The day we spoke to him, in fact, the Walton family endorsed his decision to veto the bill that had passed the legislature – not just any family, the richest family in the world and of course, the most powerful family in the state of Arkansas.”
Further casting doubt on the truth of Hutchinson’s denial of corporate influence on his executive decision, Carlson said that he had spoken with a source close to the governor who said that the term-limited politician “would very much like a board seat” with the Bentonville, Arkansas retail behemoth once he leaves office.
If the scenario Carlson described is correct, the events in Arkansas present yet another example of gross corporate overreach into the legislative realm in an attempt to project woke values on a largely reluctant American electorate, akin to the decision made by Major League Baseball to pull its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s voter integrity law as a means to appease far-left activists.
By exposing the apparent willingness of the Arkansas governor to acquiesce to pressure from corporate leaders desperate to court the most radical of voices, Carlson has hopefully not only dealt a serious blow to Hutchinson’s future political aims, but has also put others on notice that such ideological malleability comes at very real professional risk.