US 2016 ELECTIONS
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire: Donald Trump’s campaign eagerly markets that there’s a new, more-presidential Republican presidential nominee, but one of his chief 2016 primary rivals, Ohio Governor John Kasich, is unimpressed.
During a telephone interview on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Kasich said as far as he’s concerned there’s been no “Trump reboot” or “Trump 2.0.”
The fact that candidate Trump has largely stuck to what the Teleprompter says and has offered less of the caustic comments that come into his head — a tendency which marked the previous 15 months of his campaign — does not redefine a candidacy, Kasich said.
“Reboot? I don’t even know what that means,” he said. “There has been no change as far as I can see; it’s the same old thing.”
That’s as close as this Midwestern governor and former longtime congressional budget leader comes to breaking his own, self-imposed gag order on Trump commentary now that he’s no longer a candidate.
“I’ll just let my actions speak louder than words,” Kasich said.
Translation? No Republican has ever won the presidency after losing Ohio’s presidential primary, and Trump lost to Kasich there.
And Trump will have to try and win this key Midwestern state this fall without the direct help of its savvy chief executive.
Instead, Kasich is in the top tier of prominent Republicans in demand nationally if you’re a candidate for governor, United States senator or even a state representative in need of some big-name stumping on your behalf.
“I have a really busy schedule all over the country,” Kasich said.
“I’m going to the south soon. I’ve been out west, to the Midwest and, of course, to the Northeast where some think I can do the most good,” he said.
“I am helping governors — if that works for them — senators, House members. I will even do legislative stuff,” Kasich added.
And today it’s back to the Granite State, the first time Kasich has returned since his surprisingly strong second-place finish in February’s primary.
Political observers mark it as one of the earliest moves by a losing primary candidate to begin the comeback tour for a bid in 2020, especially if Clinton is elected president.
“I always love coming back to New Hampshire — that is, of course, if the voters choose to reject me again,” Kasich joked.
Last month in Cleveland, Kasich did not appear at the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump in Kasich’s home state. But Kasich was the star speaker for a breakfast meeting with the New Hampshire delegation during the convention week.