‘Our country deserves better’: John Kasich says he won’t vote for Trump after leak of ‘disgusting’ video

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Michael Isikoff
·Chief Investigative Correspondent
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Referring to Donald Trump’s comments on a 2005 tape as “disgusting,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich today joined the chorus of Republican leaders saying they will not support or vote for the GOP nominee for president.

Trump “is a man I cannot and should not support,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision[. It] has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about. I will not vote for a nominee who has behaved in a manner that reflects so poorly on our country. Our country deserves better.”

Kasich, a rival of Trump’s for the GOP nomination, had withheld his endorsement of Trump but had not said he would ultimately not support him. His Saturday statement goes considerably beyond his previous comments.

At the same time, Kasich’s chief political adviser, veteran GOP consultant John Weaver, called on other Republican officeholders — such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — to rescind their endorsement of Trump, saying that anybody who does not will be forever tainted in Republican politics. Weaver added, in a reference to Trump’s vice presidential running mate, “Mike Pence should resign.”

Trump has faced an avalanche of criticism from fellow Republicans since Friday afternoon, when the Washington Post unearthed a 2005 tape of his crudely boasting, among other things, about groping women. But Trump has refused to back down, saying he’s not a quitter.

Ohio is a crucial swing state for the Trump campaign to win on Election Day.

Here is Kasich’s full statement:

“Nothing that has happened in the last 48 hours is surprising to me or many others. Many people were angry and questioned why I would not endorse Donald Trump or attend the Republican Convention. I’ve long had concerns with Donald Trump that go beyond his temperament. We have substantive policy differences on conservative issues like trade, our relationship with Russia, and the importance of balancing the federal budget. I’ve held out hope that he would change on those disqualifying policy positions, but he has not. I’ve also encouraged him to change his behavior for the better and offer a positive, inclusive vision for our country, but he has not. It’s clear that he hasn’t changed and has no interest in doing so. As a result, Donald Trump is a man I cannot and should not support. The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision, it has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about. I will not vote for a nominee who has behaved in a manner that reflects so poorly on our country. Our country deserves better.”