Ohio Gov. John Kasich likened members of Congress to school children who think they need to ask permission from the principal — President Trump — before they take action on controversial topics such as immigration reform.
He said everyone from Laura Bush to Bernie Sanders oppose the Trump administration’s policy to separate children and parents when they are caught crossing the border illegally.
“This is not an American value to be breaking up families. I hope that they’re going to pass something through the Congress but whenever the Congress thinks about doing something they need to check with their principal. ‘Can I go get a glass of water?’” Kasich said at a press conference Monday. “Because if the president says no, I can’t have one. What is happening down there?”
He added the federal government should add judges to hear asylum cases from immigrants.
“I think the administration is going to have to do something because people are going crazy on this thing,” Kasich said.
The governor, who ran for president in 2016 in the GOP primary against Trump, again urged Congress to take action to protect so-called Dreamers or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, people who were brought into the country illegally as children. He scolded Republicans who hesitate to address the issue because they fear a backlash from GOP base voters.
“Is that what we’re relying on? Are we relying on a base of people that says there should be no justice for young people who came here through no fault of their own?” he said.
Facing rising outrage from some Republicans as well as Democrats over the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump dug in Monday, again falsely blaming Democrats and declaring he would keep the U.S. from becoming "a migrant camp."
Trump continued to cast blame on Democrats Monday, as he detoured from planned remarks on U.S. space policy to defend his administration's policies. "I say it's very strongly the Democrats' fault," he said at the White House.
"The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility," he added. "Not on my watch."
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen rejected criticism accusing her department of inhuman and immoral actions.
"We are doing none of those things. We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress," she said in an appearance before the National Sheriffs' Association in New Orleans. Like Trump, she called on Congress to reform immigration laws.
Kasich said President Trump is within his authority on how to handle issues such as illegal border crossings, trade and tariffs, and legal position that may allow insurance companies to deny coverage or charge more for customers with pre-existing conditions.
“I think it’s just not good. I think this decision on pre-existing health conditions is bad. I don’t like what’s going on with trade. I don’t like what’s going on on the border. But it’s within his prerogative.”
And the governor, who is forced out of office in January due to term limits, had advice for Ohio Republicans seeking votes this fall: run on jobs and the economy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.