Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s top campaign aide John Weaver, who recently lambasted the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Trump campaign, has a long-documented history of helping Democrats get elected.
Weaver blasted RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Sunday, alleging he was placing politics ahead of principles by supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump, and by warning failed primary candidates there may be repercussions if they refuse to honor the GOP’s loyalty pledge.
But straying from the party seems to be familiar territory for the political strategist who informally advised Secretary of State John Kerry in his election against former President George W. Bush in 2004.
Bush’s defeat of Arizona Sen. John McCain — to whom Weaver served as political director — in the 2000 primary appears to be the catalyst to his switching party affiliations in 2002.
Following the change, Wever told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he didn’t share McCain’s optimism of the party.
“I don’t think it surprised one person in McCain-land,” he said. “I think they thought I was a Democrat all along.”
Weaver went on to donate thousands to Democrats, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and former socialist Lyndon LaRouche.
During the Bush years, he opted to take a job working with The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to assist with unseating Republicans during the midterm elections. Weaver went as far as telling Roll Call he would “do everything and anything they ask of me,” painting Republicans, “as extremists who don’t tolerate moderate views.”
In addition to his work with the DCCC, he signed a contract with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, another group dedicated to helping Democrats get elected, assisted as a consultant to former Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt on his presidential bid, and was hired as a formal adviser to Democratic General Wesley Clark on his failed 2004 presidential campaign.
Weaver then opted to switch back to the Republican party, reuniting with McCain in 2007, as his chief strategist before being pushed to resign along with campaign manager Terry Nelson.
Campaign staffers told The Chicago Sun Times, “Weaver was a vindictive presence who cast a pall over a campaign.”
The negative sentiment towards Weaver followed him while he served as chief strategist to former GOP presidential hopeful Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in 2011. Staffers told Politico the operative was at the center of the campaigns problems, with one aide alleging his management style was verbally abusive.
In 2014, he again tried to unseat a Republican, shortly after referring to the GOP as “the angry-white-man party.” This time around he was working against North Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by acting as a consultant to former judge and attorney Tom Ervin, who ran as an independent.
Ervin later withdrew and threw his support behind Democrat Vincent Sheheen, who later lost by a landslide.
Despite his less-than-stellar track record on successfully advising those seeking the presidency, Kasich opted to bring him onboard, where he naturally attacked Trump throughout the primary process. After losing the primary, the attacks didn’t stop, Weaver has been vocal about his support of the “Never Trump” movement.
The political strategist recently encouraged the media to go after Trump on the “birtherism” controversy. He also blasted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for joining the ticket, telling The Washington Post he is “now a passenger on a train whose conductor is apparently mad.”
If the pattern continues, it doesn’t look like the Kasich camp will be answering Priebus’ calls to “get on board” if they want to seek the nomination in the future.
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