“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country," Kasich said on Monday night

By Sean Neumann
August 17, 2020 10:44 PM
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Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich
| Credit: PBS

Former Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich didn't dance around the elephant in the room on Monday night when he described himself as a "lifelong Republican" who would nonetheless vote for Joe Biden in the November election against President Donald Trump.

"These are not normal times," he said.

Kasich's pre-recorded appearance during the Democratic National Convention on Monday night symbolized a small but vocal number of Republicans who have distanced themselves from Trump in recent months and have said they'll vote for Biden despite their disagreement with the Democratic candidate on a range of policies.

To emphasize his point, Kasich, 68, delivered his pre-taped remarks standing at the corner of a literal crossroad.

“I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country," Kasich said. "That’s why I’ve chosen to appear at this convention. In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times.”

Kasich, who served as Ohio's governor from 2011 to 19, ran for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2016 before conceding to Trump.

Former Ohio governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate John Kasich
| Credit: Tony Dejak/AP

He infamously elected not to vote for either Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016; instead, he said he wrote in Sen. John McCain's name on his ballot.

Ahead of Monday night's speech, Kasich told The New York Times that wouldn't happen again in 2020 and that's why he was declaring his support for Biden.

“I wasn’t going to vote for somebody else,” he said. “I just wasn’t going to do it this time. I did it the last time. You know, I had always been hopeful, even after the convention and after the election, that perhaps we would see a change in the president, but we just never have. I happen to think it’s the soul of our country that is being damaged, and that’s what I’m concerned about.”

Former Ohio governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate John Kasich
| Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

The former leading GOP lawmaker was one of four Republicans to speak out against Trump and voice support for Biden on Monday night. Kasich appeared along with former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former Mitt Romney presidential campaign adviser and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and former New York Rep. Susan Molinari.

“Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path,” Kasich said Monday.

His pre-recorded speech was followed up by a montage of Republican voters who said they would also be voting for Biden. (Trump, in response to such discontent, has often touted his large approval from the conservative base.)

“We can all see what’s going on in our country today and all the questions that are facing us, and no one person or party has all the answers," Kasich continued on Monday. "But what we do know is that we can do better than what we’ve been seeing today, for sure. And I know that Joe Biden, with his experience and his wisdom and his decency, can bring us together to help us find that better way.”

Kasich also noted that he and Biden disagree but "that’s okay, because that’s America," adding: "Whatever our differences, we respect one another as human beings, each of us searching for justice and for purpose."