Former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich told CNN’s Jim Acosta that he wants “to move on” from ongoing outrage about President Donald Trump’s pardon of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Trump officially pardoned Flynn on Wednesday after a years-long legal battle that began when the retired general pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators, then later sought to withdraw from the plea agreement.
Criticism from Democrats included California Rep. Adam Schiff, who compared Trump to an “organized crime figure.”
Asked by Acosta, guest-hosting CNN’s “The Situation Room” Wednesday, about his message to “fellow Republicans” about the pardon, Kasich took a pragmatic approach.
“Let’s get on with all this,” Kasich, a frequent Trump critic, said. “The president lost. Now we’re having a big debate about his pardons. Every president has the ability to pardon.”
Explaining that issuing pardons is “what presidents do,” Kasich recalled how “people went crazy” when former President Bill Clinton issued pardons.
“It’s the power that they have,” he said. “And frankly, he’s done. He’s gonna leave. The transition has started. Let’s just move on.”
Kasich called Schiff’s language “harsh” before arguing that it’s “time to start healing.”
“Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving,” said the former Ohio governor, who openly supported President-elect Joe Biden. “Can we just like, move on a little bit? And you know, we’re going to have a new administration coming in. I think their early appointments have been good. It seems to be kind of pulling the country together. People are beginning to say, well, you know what, this is not so bad. And so that’s kind of where my head is.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Chris Hayes, Michael Moore Discussed Urging Electors To Reject Trump After 2016 Victory)
After Acosta challenged him on Flynn’s guilty plea, Kasich reiterated a president’s “ability” to pardon.
“And he’s gonna do more pardons,” he said. “There are other pardons that presidents have done that I didn’t agree with. It’s sort of like — I remember back when Gerald Ford probably cost himself re-election when he pardoned Richard Nixon. That’s what presidents do.”