Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Sunday that he might leave the Republican Party if it cannot be “fixed.”
The future of the GOP
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union" by host Jake Tapper if controversial Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore represents the future of the Republican Party, Kasich replied, “I certainly hope not.”
“I mean, we have to look at his whole record and a number of the things that he said,” Kasich said, a possible reference to Moore’s comments that homosexuality should be illegal or that Muslims shouldn’t be permitted to serve in Congress.
The former Republican presidential candidate said that “there is a struggle for the soul of the Republican Party and the soul of the Democratic Party.”
“We spend a lot of time talking about, you know, all the trouble in the Republican Party,” Kasich said. "I have no idea what the Democrats are for. It is unbelievable. Which is why polls are now beginning to show a support for independent candidacies, more than ever in our history. People are getting fed up with all of this kind of nonsense.”
Kasich said what he is “trying to do is struggle for the soul of the Republican Party, the way that I see it.”
Asked what role the Republican Party should play in Moore's campaign, Kasich replied, “Well, look, I don't run the party.”
“I can tell you for me, I don't support that. I couldn't vote for that. I don't know what the heck I would have to do, but I don't live in that state,” Kasich said, adding that he thinks “the party can be fixed.”
“If the party can't be fixed, Jake, then I'm not going to be able to support the party, period, that's the end of it,” he said. “I mean, I'm worried about our country and my kids' future. I am worried. But have I given up? Of course not.”
Would Kasich become an independent?
Pressed by Tapper on if he’s considering becoming an independent, Kasich emphasized that he thinks “we need to fix” the Republican Party.
“If our party — if the Republican Party is going to be anti-immigration, if it's not going to be worried about debt, if it's going to be — if it's going to be anti-trade, this is not where our party can be,” he said. “So I'm going to fight like everything I have to make sure — it's why I'm on these shows because I want this party to be straightened out. But I not only want the party to be straightened out, I want the country to be straightened out.”
He said that he hopes Republican Party leaders will pay attention to what he said is a growing disgust among Americans for both major parties.
Who is Roy Moore?
Moore, who recently secured the Republican nomination for the Senate after a contentious primary, is a controversial figure who was removed from the state Supreme Court — twice.
According to NPR, Moore was first removed from the bench for defying a federal district judge’s order to remove a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments that he had installed on the court’s grounds. Moore later won back his seat, but he was removed again when he ordered state judges to defy the United States Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
An Opinion Savvy/Decision Desk HQ poll released last week shows Moore leading his Democratic opponent Doug Jones by a mere six points. The special election, which fills the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions who became U.S. Attorney General, is scheduled for Dec. 12.