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Cassidy Hutchinson Invited to Grand Junction by Restore the Balance

Colorado Times Recorder

May 9, 2024

Palisade resident Rob Scribner poses with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson before getting his book signed at an event in Grand Junction.

Former White House aide gives first-hand account of working for Trump administration.

Growing up in a New Jersey working-class family, former White House aide and congressional witness Cassidy Hutchinson’s family was not political. Her parents voted in their very first Presidential election in 2016, when they chose Donald Trump. It was also the first time Hutchinson became eligible to vote, and she, too, voted for Trump. 

Restore the Balance presented “An Evening with Cassidy Hutchinson, Insights from the White House” Tuesday, May 7, at Colorado Mesa University’s Meyer Ballroom in Grand Junction. Restore the Balance is a nonprofit organization founded three years ago by a group of Mesa County residents concerned about political violence and extremism in the nation. The group is comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Hutchinson and Restore the Balance member and town of Palisade trustee Thea Chase sat in chairs onstage as Chase posed questions in a conversational style before an audience of approximately 450 people. It was Hutchinson’s first time in Colorado. The only candidate currently running for office attending the event was Democrat Tom Acker, who is vying for a seat on the Mesa County Commission.

Chase began by noting that while still in college at Christopher Newport University in 2019, Hutchinson worked as an intern for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and then for U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). Then, during the summer of 2018, Hutchinson served as an intern in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, before becoming an employee there. In 2020, Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows invited Hutchinson to be one of his aides in the White House. 

“I was really grateful for the opportunities I had to work in the administration,” Hutchinson said. “I was very loyal to the President and Mark Meadows.”

As Meadows’ assistant, Hutchinson worked in close proximity to the former President during the days leading up to, and the aftermath of, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Here’s a young person who’s written a book about her experiences,” said Restore the Balance board chairman Tim Sarmo. “It’s unique, important, first-hand knowledge. She was a logical choice and available so we feel very fortunate.”

Hutchinson is currently on tour to promote her new book Enough.

Then Colorado Rep. Ron Hanks (far-right) and Shawn Smith during Jan. 6

Chase asked Hutchinson, 27, to comment on what she observed in the West Wing during the Jan. 6 rioting, and what caused her loyalty to Trump to change. 

“I did go into the Trump administration believing in the agenda overall,” Hutchinson said. “It took me a long time to come to terms (with what was happening). I believed the administration was responsible for Jan. 6. But when you’re in that world, when you commit an act of betrayal you get a target on your back.”

“It took me a long time for me to understand I had traded critical thinking for loyalty. I was scared to do the right thing.” 

If elected, he has plans to fire career public servants he deems not sufficiently loyal to him, Hutchinson said.

Despite Trump’s ongoing assertions that the election was stolen from him — lies that prompted his followers to come to Washington on January 6 — Hutchinson recalled many instances where she heard Trump admit he had lost. 

“I don’t want people to know we lost,” she recalled Trump saying to Meadows. “Figure it out. Make some calls.” 

She said Trump knew the mob he called to Washington on January 6 was armed. During her congressional testimony at the Jan. 6 hearing, Hutchinson recalled Trump saying, “I don’t effing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.”

“He spent hours watching on TV as his mob bludgeoned police officers,” Hutchinson said. “He knew people had lost their lives and it still took him hours to say something. I was afraid, but also felt so sad, so powerless. It’s important that we don’t forget how close we came to losing our Republic.”

When asked why she still identifies as a Republican, Hutchinson said the Republican party actually does not exist — instead, it has become “completely warped in Donald Trump’s image.” The party has made a choice to nominate a potential felon. She said Republican leaders are promoting poisonous conspiracy theories. According to Hutchinson, the Republican party will need to be rebuilt.

“I’m still a conservative,” she said. “I do not support many of Biden’s policies. But policy is not as important as character in the upcoming election. I have never voted for a Democrat but I would consider voting for Biden. He has the character we need in an elected official.”

Hutchinson went on to say, “Trump not only shows us who he is, he tells us. One of my biggest mistakes was not listening. What scares me most are the consequences for our democracy. It doesn’t take long for a dangerous man to dismantle democracy. That’s where we are heading. Political violence is at an all-time high today.”

When asked what she attributes to Trump’s continued support among Republicans, Hutchinson mentioned how some elected officials, like Kevin McCarthy, said publicly that Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection. However, “craven ambition” caused him and others to backtrack those statements, falling in “lock-step” with the former President, she said. 

Also, a lot of people fear it’s dangerous for themselves and their family if they speak out against Trump, Hutchinson added. 

“We need to vote out of office those who are not speaking up; they’re part of the problem,” she said. “If Donald Trump is elected it’s on them.”

Toward the end of the presentation, Chase asked Hutchinson what advice she might have for Restore the Balance and other community members who oppose extremism in politics. 

Hutchinson emphasized the importance of bringing empathy to conversations. She said her own belief system was challenged, while she was still “part of something that was dangerous and bad.”  Fortunately, she was given opportunities to grow, she said. 

“We need to welcome people back to reality, with empathetic conversations where people feel listened to.”

Sharon Sullivan is a Grand Junction-based freelance writer and editor. She writes for several regional publications and nonprofit organizations.

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