Ohio Gov. John Kasich used a creative metaphor to explain his relationship with President Donald Trump following a meeting between the two Friday at the White House.
Kasich, who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, did not vote for Trump in the general election and has often been more critical of him than the governor’s Republican counterparts. Asked about the meeting, he explained that his criticism of the president was not of a personal nature.
“I think, look, the man is the president of the United States,” he said. “It’s sort of like being on an airplane: You want to root for the pilot if you’re on the airplane with the pilot. You don’t want the pilot to screw up.”
“And so, look, I’ve been around too long and I feel so strongly about my faith – not that I succeed all of the time – but to be personal,” he said. “I mean I can have my opinion, but now it’s time to be constructive. And sometimes being constructive is to not be positive, you know, to make your point.”
Kasich said he’s glad to have offered a contrast to his Republican colleagues in Washington, DC, about the Affordable Care Act, which Trump and congressional Republicans want to repeal and replace. He called “inadequate” a replacement plan from House Republicans that was leaked Friday by Politico.
“Completely,” Kasich said.
During his meeting with Trump, Kasich said the pair discussed combating the opioid epidemic, on which Kasich’s state has been particularly hard hit, and human trafficking, among a “whole series of things.”
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Kasich said Trump “listened a great deal to my concerns” and “was very generous with his time.”
“I also told him that, I remember back when I first became governor, there was some things that I was doing to the point where my wife said to me ‘you’re the father of Ohio, act like it,'” Kasich said. “It takes time for people to get stabilized. … We all want to wish this president the best, but that doesn’t mean that when I wish him the best that there might be things that I see that I don’t agree with and I’m going to say that.”
He said that criticism was not coming from a desire to “pull” Trump down.
“I want to put America first,” he said.