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Interview: Kasich does not rule out presidential run in 2020, says he does not recognize GOP anymore

Posted at 7:18 AM, Apr 18, 2018

Ohio Gov. John Kasich sat down for a wide-ranging interview with News 5's John Kosich, who said the Republican Party needs to be "straightened out." Of the current political climate, Kasich said, "Maybe we'll come back for the extremes."

News 5's John Kosich: In Washington, the Senate is considering right now to protect Robert Mueller and the investigation. Is this something that the Senate Republicans should get behind?

Gov. John Kasich: Well, you want to have a complete investigation here, and I don't know how, I think Republicans and Democrats alike probably feel as though it needs to be completed as to whether they need to pass something. I don't know but people want to see what's the conclusion here.

Again, I look at Washington. I don't spend my time thinking about Donald Trump's lawyer or Robert Mueller. I leave that to the people that make all of this big money on television. It's not where my focus is. My focus today in this country is we have too much debt. It's going to strangle our kids - your son, my kids. I worry about the fact that we're still so polarized.

Really, what I deeply worry about is too many of us have forgotten the kinds of lessons that our mothers and fathers have taught us, the virtues that are written on our heart and whether it is ego or greed or fame whatever it is, those virtues get obscured and we forget to care about one another. I'm at the top of the list that fails in this, but I may be a hypocrite when I talk about this because I don't do all of these things I would like to do but it doesn't make the fact that these virtues are critical to self-governing in a free society.

You just can't pass laws to get people to be where their word is good. It used to be in the old days where people would say, 'I don't need to have a big contract, let's just do a handshake.' I don't want to go back to the past, but I do think that these virtues and trust and compassion matter so much in our society and we have to reignite it.

And you know where it happens? It happens in the line at an Indians game, it happens in Little Italy when you're trying to get a table and you got a mom with a couple of kids and maybe you let her go in front of you right? It happens where we live, it happens in our neighborhoods. It doesn't just happen from some political guy or some rich woman. It happens where we live and who we are.

Some people have said that you're becoming more of a philosopher than you are a politician, but I think we need more philosophy, we need more art, we need more poetry in our lives today and it can help bring us together.

Kosich: Hearing you though talk about morals and virtues and things like that I'm reminded of what James Comey said this week in his interview with George Stephanopoulos that the president is morally unfit, he might be capable of being president but morally he doesn't see him as someone fit for the job. Would you say that the president is morally fit?

Gov. Kasich: I don't get into personal attacks. I just don't. I've never lived there and I'm not going to start living there now after all of these years. So that's not something I'm comfortable saying. I wrote a book, and when I was talking to the people about what this book was going to be about many of them wanted me to write a real ripper, just attack these people, what you saw behind the scenes and all this kind of stuff. They said it'd really be a popular book. I said well I guess my books not going to be very popular because I'm not going to do that.

So I think conducting myself above the fray, above the name calling, above the back and the forth is where I like to live.

Kosich: I don't think you've done an interview in the last 18 months without being asked about 2020, and far be it from me to break that streak. You were just in New Hampshire. If you were to consider, would you go the primary process route in New Hampshire and not run as an independent?

Gov. Kasich: I don't have any idea, I mean that's such a presumption, John, because I want to finish this job as strong as I possibly can to serve the folks of this state I love and the people who have given me all of these chances, and I honestly do not have a clue what I'm going to do. What I know is that the political environment is so unpredictable and what that means for me, I don't know.  

What I want to do is to continue to have a voice so, for example, I'm going to Texas this week and I'm going to speak at a Barbara Bush literacy event. I'm going to go to Rice University and talk to students. What I talk about in terms of who are you, are you someone who can search the truth because John we're almost headed to a post-truth environment. We can't even agree if it's day or night, cold or warm and this is really dangerous for a society.

So what I'm looking to do is if you're extreme, I don't have time for you now. I got to work in the middle, and I don't mean the mushy comfortable middle, I mean people who do want to seek the truth, people who do want to be rational and maybe we'll come back for the extremes, but this is about my country, this is about my culture.

I can't tell you that it's going to lead to another run, what it would look like. I have no idea, but I am a Republican. I don't think the Republican Party, I don't even recognize it anymore. It is not the party that I signed up for as a young man, and whether the party will straighten itself out or not I certainly hope so, and I'm doing my job but I just haven't thought beyond, I just don't know.