WASHINGTON ― Ohio governor John Kasich, a top Republican leader and former candidate for the party’s presidential nomination, on Sunday said the GOP may be on a trajectory to lose supporters like him.
“If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party, period,” he told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” a few minutes after he noted that Americans seem more eager to hear from independent candidates than ever before.
The governor’s comment came in response to a question about how Republicans should react to Alabama politician Roy Moore securing their party’s nomination for that state’s open Senate seat. Moore is a former judge who was twice removed from Alabama’s Supreme Court for violating legal standards, and Tapper noted that he has said homosexual conduct should be illegal, questioned the birthplace of former President Barack Obama and suggested Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) should not be allowed a position in Congress because he is a practicing Muslim.
“Well, look, I don’t run the party. I can tell you for me, I don’t support that. I couldn’t vote for that. I don’t know what the heck I would have to do, but I don’t live in that state. I mean, those claims are ― I mean, they’re ludicrous and they’re divisive,” Kasich said, adding that the party needs to be “fixed” to limit the influence of far-right elements and he sees his job as trying to get that done. The governor said he hopes figures like Moore do not represent the GOP’s future.
Tapper explicitly asked if Kasich might split from the GOP if it continues being associated with figures like Moore.
“No, not at this…” the governor responded, trailing off as if to hint that a time may come when he would consider parting ways with GOP. “What I’m saying to you is, we need to fix it. If our party, if the Republican Party is going to be anti-immigration, if it’s not going to be worried about debt, if it’s going…