Don’t Expect Kasich to Endorse Trump this Week
CLEVELAND – Ask members of the Ohio delegation to the Republican National Convention whether they’re disappointed John Kasich will not be their party’s presidential nomination, and they say yes.
Then ask whether they will unite behind Donald Trump, and many say yes, the alternative – Hillary Clinton – is unthinkable.
But ask the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, Matt Borges, if Gov. John Kasich will endorse Trump by the end of this week, and he flat out answers “No.”
“No?” The Business Journal followed up during a one-on-one interview with Borges this morning.
Is Kasich inching closer given his op-ed published Sunday by a New Hampshire newspaper that blasted Clinton for moving too far left?
“You asked me if it was going to be by the end of the week.”
“I think there’s a long way to go for Mr. Trump to take the steps toward what John Kasich says he knows is a winning message,” Borges said. “The governor doesn’t have a 60% approval rating by accident, he didn’t win Cuyahoga, Mahoning and Lucas counties – some of the bluest parts of the state – by accident. He knows what it takes to have a uniting message and that’s what he’s looking for. There’s plenty of time to do that. I think we’ve already seen some movement in that direction, and we’ll see where we end up.”
Borges was interviewed before the Ohio delegation’s breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton downtown. His comments followed remarks earlier by Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who blasted Kasich for “embarrassing” the party by not getting on board with the presumptive nominee.
In tonight’s edition of NBC Nightly News, Kasich said, “I heard about it, I laughed. Look, Ohio is doing great. And people in the state, at least today, still like me.”
Stacks of today’s edition of The Columbus Dispatch were made available to the delegates, some of who participated in the newspaper’s online survey reported on the front page. Of the state’s 129 delegates and alternates, 77 completed the survey, and of that number, 22% said they will not vote for Trump, the newspaper reported.
The breakfast event was attended by 500 delegates, alternates and honorary delegates – party leaders such as Mike Halleck, president of the Columbiana County Board of Commissioners.
“Of course I’m disappointed John Kasich isn’t our nominee,” Halleck said. “I campaigned for him in New Hampshire.”
Are you disappointed Kasich has yet to endorse Donald Trump? he was asked.
“Some people might say the governor is stubborn or hard-headed. I prefer to say he’s principled.”
Halleck said Republicans would be united by the end of the convention.
“This is an election for the next generation,” he said. “It’s about picking the next justices for the Supreme Court.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6, also an honorary delegate, noted that he was “an early supporter of the governor but it didn’t turn out that way and now we have a very clear and unambiguous choice to make between two candidate, one of which I don’t believe has the best interests of eastern and southern Ohio.”
Is there anything that troubles you about Donald Trump? Johnson was asked.
“I get troubled about everything that goes on in Washington these days,” he replied. “But I met with Donald Trump about two weeks ago, spent about 20 minutes with him and I can tell you the guy you see on TV is not the guy you see when you’re when you’re sitting down in a small group around the table. He’s very thoughtful, very engaging, digs deep in to the issues and asks questions,” Johnson said.
“We talked about regulatory reform, the coal industry. …No president is going to make the decisions every time that we would him or her to make, but I’m confident that he’s certainly the better of two choices by far.”
David Johnson, chairman of the Columbiana County Republican Party, was one of Johnson’s earliest backers when he first ran for the House of Representatives six years ago, and he hosted rallies and fundraisers this year for Kasich during the primary race.
“I’m a huge Kasich supporter and I’m disappointed, but the nominee is Trump and I want to win this election more than anything else,” he said. “Hillary is probably the most deceitful, corrupt person that’s ever run for office of president. I am motivated more than anything else to make sure that we don’t have four more years of Obama headed by someone as deceitful and corrupt as Hillary Clinton.”
Pictured: Ohio GOP Chairman Mike Borges addresses the state’s delegation at a breakfast Monday morning.
Josh Medore contributed to this story, which was updated to add additional information about the Kasich/Trump split.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.