Former Ohio Governor John Kasich — a prominent figure in the “Never Trump” wing of the GOP — says he doesn’t see an opening to challenge the president for the Republican nomination in 2020.
Speaking at a political conference in Michigan on Thursday, Kasich said, “there’s no path for me right now.” In a subsequent appearance on CNN, Kasich cited Trump’s nearly 90 percent support among the GOP base and said he was not interested in running a symbolic campaign. He insisted he’s “never gotten involved in a political race where I didn’t think I could win.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Kasich’s longtime political adviser John Weaver underscored the extent to which the Republican party has consolidated itself around Trumpism. “Millions have left the party since Trump became president,” Weaver said. “Would they return to vote in a primary?” Weaver added that a Kasich 2020 campaign could run into a dead end quickly: “We could defeat Trump in New Hampshire, but then what?” Despite Kasich’s comments, Weaver emphasized that the former governor is “keeping all the options on the table” and has not closed the door on a run.
Kasich served two terms as Ohio’s chief executive and nine terms in the House of Representatives. He is a fiscal conservative, an abortion opponent and has questioned human contributions to climate change. His bona fides as a moderate rest significantly on his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio and his criticism of the GOP’s crusade to overturn Obamacare.
Kasich won Ohio in the 2016 GOP primary campaign and was the last man standing in the GOP field against Trump, before withdrawing after Trump’s victory in the Indiana primary that May of that year. Kasich did not endorse Trump, and sat out the GOP convention.
While he’s unlikely to run against Trump, Kasich is still getting in shots at the president. In the interview in Michigan, Kasich roasted Trump for the Navy’s decision to keep the ship named after John McCain out of sight on the president’s recent Japan trip. Noting that Trump had watched sumo wrestling on his visit, Kasich cautioned the president against getting into a grappling match with Nancy Pelosi, saying: “She’s pinned you a couple of times, I would stay away from her.”
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 30, 2019