Ohio governor John Kasich brought his war with the national Republican Party into the open, blasting GOP leader Reince Priebus and presidential nominee Donald Trump in a statement released to the press Sunday night.
The statement, issued on official campaign letterhead, followed remarks by Priebus earlier in the day suggesting the party might block the Ohio governor from running for president again because he has refused to endorse Trump.
“There are still leaders in this country who put principles before politics,” Kasich’s office wrote.
“The Governor is traveling the nation supporting down ballot Republicans and preventing a potential national wipeout from occurring on Reince’s watch,” John Weaver, Kasich’s adviser said before calling Priebus “a Kenosha political operative.”
Kasich’s statement is seen as a stunning act of open hostility between the national Republican Party and the governor in perhaps the most crucial swing state — and at a sensitive moment in the election.
When asked about Kasich’s refusal to support Donald Trump, Priebus said that the party might not forgive its leaders who refused to back the GOP nominee in the home stretch of the campaign.
“Those people need to get on board. And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again someday, I think that we’re going to evaluate the process — of the nomination process and I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them,” he said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Kasich responded by reaffirming his stance on Meet The Press, saying “he’s not ready to shut the door on a vote for Donald Trump.