During a press conference Wednesday morning, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) told the country he would not be signing his state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. The announcement came after Indiana's RFRA legislation spawned nationwide backlash earlier this week, with critics claiming the state's "religious freedom" law enabled businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
Thursday morning, MSNBC's "Morning Joe" unanimously praised Hutchinson's handling of the controversy. While Gov. Mike Pence (R) has finally agreed to fix the law after days of defending the legislation, Hutchinson struck an emotional chord in his speech, stating that his son's decision to sign a petition asking for a veto of the bill had influenced his position.
"I think it was very well played. I like it a lot," co-host Mika Brzezinski said. “I like Asa a lot. It was really well done. He handled it beautifully.”
Democratic strategist and former Obama adviser David Axelrod agreed, stating that the way the two governors handled the controversy was "like night and day."
Though on Wednesday co-host Joe Scarborough offered a partial defense of business owners denying service to those of the LGBT community, he had to admire Hutchinson's political savvy.
"Politically, also, it was harder for Asa in Arkansas than it would have been for Pence in Indiana, a state which went for Barack Obama in 2008," he said. "I was actually wondering how Asa was going to get out of this, but you know what, I think he did very well. I'm not questioning him using his son, that seemed very sincere."