As this year’s primary season wore on and voters showed little or no enthusiasm for John Kasich in state after state, the question became why the Ohio governor remained in the race. Candidates as popular as Kasich — e.g., Jeb Bush — and more popular — Marco Rubio — called it quits, but Kasich persisted.
Some thought that Kasich was hanging in there to take votes away from Donald Trump’s rivals in the hope of becoming Trump’s running mate. Others figured that Kasich is a stubborn egoist jerk.
We can now rule out the first theory. Not only has Kasich showed zero interest in the vice presidency on a Trump ticket, he reportedly turned down an offer for that slot.
According to a senior Kasich aide, Donald Trump, Jr., on his father’s behalf, offered Kasich the vice presidential nomination, but Kasich turned the offer down. Responding to this report, the senior Trump tweeted: “John Kasich was never asked by me to be V.P.” (Emphasis added) This might be construed as a non-denial inasmuch as it was his son, not Trump, who allegedly asked.
The New York Times account of the exchange between Kasich’s man and Trump, Jr. is amusing. Supposedly, the latter said that as vice president Kasich would be in charge of both foreign and domestic policy. When the Kasich aide asked what Trump would be in charge of, the response was “making America great again.”
Who says that “make America great again” is just a campaign slogan?
Did such an exchange take place? I don’t know, but we shouldn’t assume it did on the say-so of Kasich’s camp.
It’s perfectly understandable that Kasich doesn’t want to run with Trump. Such a ticket would be analogous to a merger of two corporations (neither all that appealing to me) with very different philosophies and styles, as Kasich reportedly told Trump.
What I don’t understand is why Kasich apparently feels free to break his pledge to support the Republican nominee. I can understand why Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush might feel free to do so. Trump viciously insulted Cruz’s father and Bush’s brother.
But Trump never went hard after Kasich, much less his family. It seemed clear during the campaign, and clearer now, that the tycoon had the governor in mind as a potential running mate all along. That plus the fact that Kasich was never a threat explains, I think, the soft treatment Kasich received.
Why, then, won’t Kasich keep his promise, or at least refrain from ostentatiously snubbing the nominee? One theory is that he’s a stubborn egoist jerk.