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Ohio's Kasich Won't Back Down On Trump

Ohio's Kasich Won't Back Down On Trump

By Wednesday, 20 July 2016 02:30 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's steadfast resolve not to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump is causing waves at the Republican National Convention.

Although he is not on the prime-time program at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, the governor of the state hosting the convention has been a presence at events at or surrounding the GOP event.

Kasich, for example, hosted a reception for supporters of his own failed presidential bid and has addressed several meetings of state delegations.

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump delegates in Pennsylvania told me in no-uncertain terms they were going to “let Kasich have it” at his scheduled address to their breakfast the following morning.

"Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of John Kasich being a sore loser,” Harrisburg attorney Marc Scaringi, one of the first Keystone State Republicans to sign up for the Trump campaign, said.

Scaringi specifically targeted Kasich’s criticism of Trump’s hardline with U.S. trading partners in the world. In his words, “Kasich was born in McKees Rock, Pa., and should know our state prospered under the tariff system. Going back to Lincoln, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge, the trade policy Trump advocates now has always been a Republican policy.”

But an upbraiding by delegates would have to wait. At 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Pennsylvania Republican Party Communications Director Megan Sweeney sent an email announcing that “Gov. Kasich is no longer attending the breakfast.”

Businesswoman Valerie Gaydos, a volunteer for Kasich in the primaries, told me on Wednesday: “I’m not sure why Gov. Kasich would need to speak to a group where there were no final votes for him."

Avoiding a standoff wasn't winning fans, however. Evens friends and supporters of the Buckeye State governor were voicing regrets that he wasn’t on the Trump train yet.

“Disappointment,” is how former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, one of Kasich’s closest friends during their days in the House, told me.

“I started off campaigning for Jeb Bush and, after he got out in South Carolina, I worked for John Kasich,” recalled Chip Nottingham, attorney and District of Columbia delegate. “He worked hard, but Donald Trump won the nomination fair and square. We should all get behind the Republican nominee and defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Nottingham did volunteer, however, that Kasich’s recalcitrance on Trump may be due to another factor: a lack of respect for the last Republican candidate standing against Trump by their party’s leadership.

“You’ll remember when [Republican National Chairman] Reince Priebus proclaimed Mr. Trump the presumptive nominee just before the primary season was over,” he told me. “He did that without even calling John. Courtesy 1.0 requires you to inform the other candidates when you proclaim one of them the winner.”

At 64 and with two years left before he is termed out as governor, Kasich, one presidential historian speculates, is taking the position of not supporting Trump because this is his “last hurrah” in presidential politics.            

“It doesn’t surprise me that both George Bushes and Mitt Romney or even Jeb Bush won’t support Trump,” said historian Irwin Gellman, author of a biographical series on Richard Nixon. “Their day has come and gone. But look at what happened when [New York Gov.] Nelson Rockefeller refused to back Barry Goldwater after he became the Republican nominee for president in 1964. Grass-roots Republicans remembered this when he tried for the nomination in 1968. He was thrashed by Nixon.

“Kasich certainly knows that the people who are active grass-roots Republicans and become convention delegates have long memories. And he probably concluded he will never have to go back to them.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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Ohio Gov. John Kasich's steadfast resolve not to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump is causing waves at the Republican National Convention.
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016 02:30 PM
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