Kasich, the last Trump rival to exit the 2016 primaries, had been contacted by Mitt Romney and other would-be eminence grises who are trying — with no success thus far — to put a new candidate on the ballot and spare conservatives from backing the Republican ticket.
Over the weekend, his advisers told The Washington Post that he would not run, but the CNN interview marked his first (and perhaps final) personal statement on the matter. Like several other defeated presidential contenders, he had held off on endorsing Trump. Like most of them, he did not see the defeat of Trump as a moral cause worth running a spoiler campaign for.
"I've talked to somebody in the media who said, 'You know, you have a responsibility,'" he said. "You know, it's really been interesting, you can have depth to something and people think, 'Well, that's just politics.' No. When I talk about two paths, you know, the path of rebuilding the country, or pushing people down into the ditch, that's not some political play that somebody calculated for me. That's my insides, that's my soul. And so, you know, a third-party candidacy would be viewed as kind of a silly thing. And I don't think it's appropriate."