Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said in an interview on Monday that the reason he was jeered at a political event was due to the “stranglehold” former President Trump has on his party. 

Hutchinson, who announced his candidacy in April, was greeted by boos and chants of “Trump” when he appeared on stage to speak at the Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday. 

“Well, it’s a different day in time, and that reflects Trump’s stranglehold on a certain element of the party,” Hutchinson told host Leland Vittert on NewsNation’s “The Hill.” “But what you saw in that audience were thousands of young people who I was speaking to, and they were listening.” 

He added that “it’s important for me to speak my message about where this country needs to go, and different policies for what President Biden is bringing, from energy to too much federal spending, so I gave that message, and that’s important for me to be there.”

“And I loved the young people and their engagement and we had a good good time mixing with them after the event.”

Other GOP presidential candidates including Trump and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also spoke at the Turning Point conference. 

Trump has shown little sign of weakness in GOP primary polls, leading Hutchinson and all other candidates by significant margins.

Hutchinson has called for the former president to drop out of the race, previously telling The Hill, “The last thing that we need is another Joe Biden-Donald Trump race in 2024.”  

–Updated on July 18 at 5:49 a.m.