Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Wednesday called President Donald Trump’s comparison of white supremacist protesters to counter-protesters gathered to oppose them over the weekend in Charlottesville “pathetic” and “terrible.” But the governor added that Trump is “our President, OK?” and “you’re not going to turn your back on the President.”
“Pathetic, isn’t it?” Kasich said, unprompted, at the top of an interview on NBC’s “Today.”
“And to not condemn these people who went there to carry out violence, and to somehow draw some equivalency to somebody else, reduces the ability to totally condemn these hate groups,” he added, referring to Trump’s impromptu press conference Tuesday in which the President did just that.
“The President has to totally condemn this,” Kasich said, adding: “This is not about winning an argument. This is about the fact that now these folks apparently are going to go other places, and they think that they had some sort of a victory. There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, the neo-Nazis and anyone else. Anybody else is not the issue.”
Kasich recalled a ceremony for the unveiling of a Holocaust memorial in Ohio that had to be moved inside because there was a concern that white supremacists would “throw concrete” at attendees.
However, pressed by NBC’s Matt Lauer over whether he would “be willing to be the guy who goes around to Republican leaders and says, ‘This is our moment, we will tell this President we no longer support him, period,’” Kasich balked.
‘Well, Matt, look, he’s our President, OK?” Kasich said. “And I’m here this morning speaking out as aggressively as I can. I hope that it will provide some courage to other people, and there are great numbers of people now speaking out. He is our President, but I want to say that he needs to correct what he has said. He’s got to understand what the people in this country want, and he’s got to bring us together.”
“But you’re not going to turn your back on the President,” Kasich continued. “You’re going to speak clearly and bluntly and say, ’Get your act together.’”
He concluded: “President Trump needs to listen to the people before he takes this presidency in a place that is not acceptable for our country.”
Watch below via NBC: