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Kasich Camp Slams Priebus Over Trump Support Threats

Image: Kasich Camp Slams Priebus Over Trump Support Threats

(AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 12:00 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's camp lashed out at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for his warning that GOP candidates who have not endorsed Donald Trump could face penalties if they try to run for president in the future, Politico reports.

The open criticism from the Ohio governor was a stunning act of open hostility with the national Republican Party, especially at such a crucial time in the election and in perhaps the most critical swing state.

"Thankfully, there are still leaders in this country who put principles before politics," said Kasich adviser John Weaver.

"The idea of a greater purpose beyond oneself may be alien to political party bosses like Reince Priebus, but it is at the center of everything Gov. Kasich does. [He] is traveling the nation supporting down-ballot Republicans and preventing a potential national wipeout from occurring on Reince's watch."

The episode emphasizes the all-out battle that could face the GOP if Trump loses and the party searches for a new direction, with one top Republican strategist telling CNN, "We're watching the trailer for the GOP civil war, out in theaters Nov. 9."

The tension broke out into the open when Priebus told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that those candidates who ran in the Republican primaries who haven't yet lived up to their pledge to back the eventual nominee [such as Kasich, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush] need to "get on board" or their future presidential bids won't "be that easy."

"If a private entity puts forward a process and has agreement with the participants in that process, and those participants don't follow through with the promises that they made in that process," Priebus said, "what should a private party do about that if those same people come around in four or eight years?"

Former campaign representatives for Cruz and Bush didn't respond to a request for comment.

Some party officials say the impetus for Priebus's statement came from many party faithful wanting to know what is going to happen to those candidates who did not keep their pledge to endorse the eventual winner, while other operatives say the episode is overblown because the party is focused only on winning the current election and not some hypothetical future problem.

But Weaver told CNN that if Trump loses, "there'll be a really pitched battle for the heart and soul of the party. You're going to have off-year elections, you're going to have midterms — some of that will impact the defining of the party, clearly.

"But you won't have any new definition of it until there's a new nominee. There's a broader debate ultimately about what the party stands for and where the country should go."

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich's camp lashed out at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for his warning that GOP candidates who have not endorsed Donald Trump could face penalties if they try to run for president in the future...
john kasich, slams, rnc, reince priebus, trump, support
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Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016 12:00 PM
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