Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who has declined to endorse Donald Trump for president, said Tuesday that the delegates to the party’s national convention should search their own consciences and decide whether to support the presumptive nominee when they meet in Cleveland in two weeks.
Kasich, like other rivals of Trump, pledged to support the party’s nominee while he was a candidate for the Republican nomination. But he has not lived up to that commitment and shows no sign of doing so. Asked whether delegates to the convention, including those bound to Trump or others by the results of primaries and caucuses, should honor those rules if Kasich is not living up to his pledge, he said it is up to them to decide.
“They have to weigh their responsibilities against their consciences and then make a decision about what they want to do,” he said.
Though some delegates have been looking for ways to challenge the results of the nominating process, Kasich was quick to say he was not trying to lead a convention revolt. “I will not and do not want to be a disruptive force,” he said. “Donald Trump won. It’s his party and his convention.”
About his statement that the delegates should examine their consciences before casting their convention votes, he said, “I don’t see that designed to create any sort of disruption. That is not where I am. I’m a happy man.”
Kasich is one of a number of prominent holdouts ahead of the convention, but his position is magnified by his role as host governor for the Cleveland gathering. He said he plans to be in Cleveland during convention week but has no plans for participation in the convention itself.
Asked directly if he is likely to back Trump before the convention, he said, “Probably not. Unless I see a Saul-to-Paul transformation on the road to Damascus, I don’t see it happening. . . . I may still support him, but I’m going to have to see changes.”
The governor is at odds with Trump on issues ranging from immigration to trade to entitlement reform to the country’s national security posture.