Ohio Gov. John Kasich ripped into President Trump’s response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend that left one counterprotester dead.
In a Wednesday appearance on NBC’s “Today,” a fired-up Kasich, one of Trump’s opponents in last year’s Republican primaries, urged the president to “listen to the people before he takes this presidency in a place that is not acceptable for our country.”
He further slammed Trump for drawing a “moral equivalency” between racist rally attendees and the counterprotesters. Trump has repeatedly blamed both sides for the violence.
Trump gave a much-maligned statement Saturday blaming “many sides” for the violence. Under fire from Republicans and Democrats, he delivered a follow-up Monday specifically condemning the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. But on Tuesday, Trump defended and repeated his original position, which he said was “excellent.”
On Wednesday, Kasich said Trump needs “to understand it’s not about winning an argument.”
“The president of the United States needs to condemn these kind of hate groups,” Kasich said. “Think about what you have seen.”
“This is about the fact that now these folks are apparently going to go other places and they think that they had some sort of a victory,” he added. “There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and anybody else. Anybody else is not the issue. These folks went there to disrupt.”
Despite his criticism, Kasich — who has not ruled out a 2020 presidential campaign — said the solution was not to “turn your back on the president.”
“I’m here this morning speaking out as aggressively as I can,” Kasich said. “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 of this country want. And he’s got to bring us together.”
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- Jacksonville reassesses Confederate monuments in Charlottesville’s aftermath
- Photos: Confederate statue toppled in Durham, N.C.; others vandalized as cities consider removal of such monuments