Gov. John Kasich of Ohio candidly explained in an interview that aired Thursday why he was still unable to support Donald Trump.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Kasich was asked by host Joe Scarborough about his failure to provide the New York businessman with an endorsement. Kasich previously signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee, a title Trump has all but secured.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know it’s painful,” Kasich said, noting that he had been a lifelong member of the GOP. “You know people even get divorces. Sometimes things come about. Look, I’m sorry that this has happened. I’m not making any final decision yet. But at this point, I just can’t do it.”
“Either there needs to be a dramatic change, or I can’t find myself there,” he added.
Kasich quoted NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who served time in prison for running a dogfighting ring, as a way of alluding to Trump’s small window to make changes to his campaign.
“Michael Vick said one time that we ‘only have one chance to make a good second impression,'” the onetime 2016 presidential hopeful said. “But unless it changes, I’m not going to be able to get there.”
The renewed push for the indefinite ban on Muslim immigration from Trump and the presumptive Republican nominee’s attacks on a federal judge based on his Mexican heritage were just two of the reasons Kasich said the real-estate magnate’s candidacy was “trending all the wrong way.”
“It’s not just one thing,” the governor said. “It’s going to be a number of things. The list is getting bigger.”
Kasich referred to recent comments Trump made about President Barack Obama that Kasich said suggested “the president is somehow sympathetic to an act of terrorism.”
“I mean those are outrageous things,” he said.
Asked about how Trump was able to surge in the 2016 race, Kasich placed blame on the press for giving Trump billions of dollars’ worth of free media.
“I mean I could be having a press conference and they’d have an empty podium with Trump speaking there,” he said. “I mean, look, you guys have a lot of responsibility for this, you know it too. You all know it!”
Scarborough interjected to say that he would have accepted Kasich calling into the show at any time, just as he did for Trump.
“I call in, you get no ratings,” Kasich said. “He calls in, you get red ratings.”
“Was there not a fixation on him by the media?” he asked.
During a Wednesday campaign rally in Atlanta, Trump delivered a strong message to prominent elected Republicans who have publicly rebuked policy positions and sometimes controversial statements made by the billionaire.
“Just please be quiet,” he said. “Don’t talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet … because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself.”