Asked about a 2020 run, Kasich tells NH1 News 'I don't know what's going to happen'
GOFFSTOWN – Former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich says he’ll “see how things develop in the future” when asked about the possibility of making another run for the White House.
And in an interview on NH1 Newsmakers, the Ohio governor said he’ll campaign in the 2018 midterm elections for GOP candidates “who I have respect for,” but added that he won’t be supporting “any Republicans who are dividers.”
Kasich spoke one-on-one with NH1 News on Thursday morning outside the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, minutes after the conclusion of the latest stop on his national tour for his new book “Two Paths: America Divided or United.”
Asked about the book, Kasich said “I think the country has been drifting towards more anger, more division. And that’s not what I want to see in our country. So the book is about how did we get here and what do we do to get out of it. And I do it because I do love my country and my daughters are 17 and I’d love them to have the kind of America that I had. So, it takes all of us, where we live, to make a difference.”
“The book’s kind of how to road map as to how we can get back to the right direction,” Kasich added.
Kasich finished second in last year’s GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire, behind Donald Trump, boosting his once long shot campaign for the Republican nomination. Later in the primary season, ahead of the New York primary, Kasich gave a speech titled “Two Paths,” which at the time was seen as an attack on Trump.
Kasich refused to support Trump after the billionaire businessman and political outsider captured the GOP nomination, and the Ohio governor didn’t attend last summer’s GOP convention, even though it was held in his state’s second largest city, Cleveland.
Kasich on Trump: ‘I don’t like all the tweets. I don’t think that’s a presidential thing’
Since Trump's inauguration in January, Kasich has been critical of him on some issues, but did praise the President’s nomination of federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. And Kasich met with Trump at the White House earlier this year, saying he was “very optimistic” that the President heard his concerns.
Asked by NH1 News if he thought Trump was acting presidential, Kasich answered “I don’t like all the tweets. I don’t think that’s a presidential thing, but you know it’s just a different time. And it’s not the way I would do it, but I didn’t’ win. So I want to give him chance to do what he’s doing and we’ll judge it after a little bit of time. You know you can’t just judge things in the moment. I don’t even judge movies that I see in the moment. You let a little time pass and then we can have an opinion.”
Kasich’s stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state, coming just two days after he kicked off his book tour, is sparking more speculation that the two-term Ohio governor and former eight-term congressman will primary challenge the President in the next race for the White House.
Monday evening Kasich said at a CNN town hall that such a run was “very unlikely.”
Asked by NH1 News what would motivate to launch another presidential campaign, Kasich said “I don’t know. But I know that if I comment too much about this, I’m not going to be able to get into my house when I get back to Ohio because my wife is not to thrilled about all that.”
Then turning serious, he added “look I don’t know what’s going to happen. I gotta take care of the job I have now, and then see how things develop in the future.”
The governor went on to say that his current book tour “is all about helping the country the best I can and I’m glad I’m in a position to be helpful.”
Kasich won’t support ‘Republicans who are dividers’
Kasich was last in the Granite State last August, to campaign with then-executive councilor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu, who later won the GOP nomination and then the general election.
Asked if he’ll come back to New Hampshire to campaign for Sununu and stump for other Republicans across the country in next year’s elections, Kasich said “it’s possible. I will tell you that I will not be out supporting any Republicans who are dividers. If they’ve got this harsh rhetoric or whatever, I won’t be involved.”
“But I would expect in the midterms that there will be some people that I will help who I have respect for, and think they have courage and they are lifting the country,” he added.
Before the start of Thursday's book tour event, Kasich's greeted members of his New Hampshire campaign team and other Granite State friends.
Kasich thanked them, saying "a number of you stuck your necks out for me and I don't take it lightly. I really, deeply, appreciate it."
And he joked that "in terms of my future, I know it's ahead of me."
Later, the Ohio governor told NH1 News “I think I’ll be coming back up here just because I have friends. It’s a beautiful state. So if I come back it’s not going to be to go dog sledding but it will be to play some golf and do some hiking.”
Kasich captured 16% of the vote in last year’s GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire. His second place finish was better-than-expected. But following Thursday’s books signing, Kasich told reporters he was disappointed because the national media “didn’t’ pay attention.”
“It was like it never happened,” he declared.
“New Hampshire is a launching pad, and if it ceases to be a launching pad for people into the national consciousness, then it loses its effectiveness,” the governor warned.
“The New Hampshire primary is special, but it has to serve as a way to let the country get to know people because the people here will make a good judgement, not just on policy, but also on personality,” he continued. “Maybe this election was just an aberration, but I’d hate to see New Hampshire become just like every other state in the country.”
Kasich added that “it sounds like I’m whining, which maybe a little bit I am.”
But the Ohio governor then hammered home a point that he made in his new book, saying that his extensive campaigning in the Granite State in 2015 and 2016 “in a lot of ways, it changed my view of the country because of the town halls and the way that people reacted.”
“You tend to think that people care about all of these policies, and they really don’t,” he said. “They just want to feel like they matter. I learned that here. I actually feel a connection to the people up here,” he added.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks one-on-one with NH1 News following his book tour stop at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, on April 27, 2017
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to a full house at his book tour stop at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, on April 27, 2017
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to friends and supporters from his 2016 presidential campaign, minutes before the start of his book tour stop at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, on April 27, 2017
The 'Kasich For Us' sign still hangs outside Ohio Gov. John Kasich's 2016 New Hampshire primary campaign headquarters, in Manchester on April 27, 2017