Ohio Gov. John Kasich Thursday said President Donald Trump has embraced a “wrecking ball” approach to foreign policy — one that could alienate key U.S. allies.
“I think we have been pursuing an ‘America alone’ policy — not an America first one,” he said during an appearance at the National Press Club which he said he scheduled just to express his concerns. “We have been bullying countries all over the world and to me it never makes sense for America to adopt a wrecking ball strategy.”
Kasich said he didn’t express his concerns “to further some political ambition” because he has “no clue” whether he’ll run for president. But, he said, “I’m concerned about what I have observed in terms of America and our foreign policy.”
“Nobody functions very well alone,” he said. “We do well when we work in teams.”
The Republican governor said he was concerned about the U.S. withdrawal from several agreement – the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Paris Accords and the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. And he said he was “shocked” at Trump’s behavior during the G-7 Summit last month, when Trump refused to sign a communique and called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “very dishonest and weak” in a Tweet.
“Insults, unacceptable behavior in my opinion, and not even an agreement on a communique,” Kasich said, adding that he was unhappy to see tariffs imposed on allies Canada and Mexico as well.
At NATO, Trump said Thursday that allies agreed to his demand for a significant increase in military spending. But leaders of some NATO nations disputed that account. Trump’s criticism of Germany – he said the nation was reliant on Russia – also stirred some tensions. But Trump also reconfirmed his commitment to the alliance, saying the commitment was “very strong.”
Still, Kasich — who later reiterated his concerns during an appearance on CNN with Wolf Blitzer —said he was concerned Trump’s bombastic behavior at NATO may undermine an alliance “that has kept the peace for 70 years.”
“There is growing disunity,” he said. “A growing sense of a lack of trust, a growing sense of ‘can we depend on the United States at particular moments of time…the fraying of relationships has consequences.”
Kasich made his comments during a day-long swing through D.C. that also included a stop at CNN, where he defended U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, the embattled congressman who was accused last week of knowing about reports of sexual abuse at Ohio State University but doing nothing about it. Kasich said when he learned about the accusations, he said a prayer “this would pass, this would all be resolved.” Kasich said Jordan has “always been pleasant - he’s not a close friend but we are friends, and when I heard this I was sad.”
“What I hope happens at the end of the day is that the athletes are taken care of and Jordan will be cleared,” he said.
Speaking on CNN, Kasich also offered criticism of Trump’s now-revoked policy of separating families of undocumented immigrants when arrested, saying many of the famlies are seeking asylum because they feared for their lives in their home country. “What we need are more asylum judges,” he said, adding that they also need facilites to house families while the U.S. determines whether the immigrants are truly at risk.
Asked by Blitzer if he wants to be president, Kasich acknowledged he would, but said, “I didn’t get elected when I tried to run.”
“Of course I’d love to be in a position to be able to help the country, but so what?” he said. “There’s a long distance between that and how you get there.”