Kasich Squashes Rumors Of POTUS Bid But Promises To Restore Pre-Trump GOP

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich dismissed rumors of a presidential bid Sunday shortly after suggesting he can bring the GOP “back” to where it presumably was before President Donald Trump was elected.

“We should care about people from top to bottom, not just those at the top,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I can bring that party back. That’s what I’m going to do in one way or another.” Kasich did not specify how the party had been led astray, but he did suggest that the “Republican Party left me.”

Kasich did not directly address his opinion of Trump during the interview, but he has been critical of the president and the Republican party since his 2016 presidential campaign ended ignominiously.

He called Trump’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville “pathetic,” pilloried Trump’s executive order on refugees and migrants, and sided with NFL players in an ongoing dispute over the appropriateness of staging protests during the observance of the national anthem.

Speculation ratcheted up in 2017 that Kasich was considering a bipartisan presidential bid in 2020 with Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. The pair denied any such ambitions, and Kasich spent the bulk of his time Sunday pitching Tapper on his record as Ohio’s Republican governor.

“In my state we have balanced budgets, surplus, we’re up half a million jobs and then people say, ‘Well Kasich’s not a conservative.’ What does that mean? Does that mean I have to be anti-immigrant, anti-trade?” he said, referring to Trump’s support for trade tariffs and a wall on the Southern border.

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