COLUMBUS — Ohio’s governor knows Americans are frustrated with the fighting within government. He has a pretty simple answer: Vote.
“Everybody has so much anger. Then go and vote,” Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday afternoon. “That’s a good place to display it, at the ballot box.”
The two-term governor, who can’t run for re-election, is aware the Republican Party has changed over the years. He unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, and he admits to having some philosophical and style disagreements with President Donald Trump.
“I don’t know if he is all that popular,” Kasich said during a visit in the governor’s office with The Lima News’ editorial board. “The numbers of people in the Republican Party has shrunk. He does have strong support among the remnant of the party.”
Kasich spent much of a 50-minute conversation fighting the notion that party politics are all that important.
“When you’re plucking someone off a tree during a flood, do you ever ask them, ‘Who’d you vote for?’” Kasich said.
Still, he continues to support GOP candidate Mike DeWine.
“I’ve known Mike for 30 years. I’m going to do an ad for him,” Kasich said.
Kasich said he genuinely didn’t know if he’d run for president in 2020, either as a Republican or as an independent. That didn’t mean he didn’t have strong opinions about Trump, though. He questioned the president’s trade and immigration policies.
He particularly questioned Trump’s claim of being a “nationalist” instead of a global leader. He urged more leaders to “to put ourselves in other people’s shoes,” using the surge of Guatemalan refugees coming up through Mexico now as an example. He disagreed with Trump’s push to keep them from entering the United States if they’re truly running from danger.
“We’ve got people coming to the border whose daughters are being threatened with rape in Guatemala. Sons are being told, ‘If you’re not going to sell drugs, we’ll kill you,’” Kasich said. “If I’m a mom, what am I supposed to do? I’m going to get out of there.”
In recent years, Kasich’s been a maverick figure, sometimes fighting against members in his own party on issues such as expanding Medicaid and calling for reforms on gun laws. Kasich said other politicians are finally starting to catch up to his beliefs, though.
“A lot of my positions, particularly Medicaid expansion. for example, now politicians are running as fast as they can to my position,” he said.