Ohio Gov. John Kasich has drawn intense scrutiny this week as he’s crisscrossed Cleveland and showed up just about everywhere except inside Quicken Loans Arena, where Republicans nominated Donald Trump as their presidential candidate.
On Thursday, Kasich said he had no regrets.
“I think you can all understand why I didn’t show up to speak at the convention after what you saw last night,” Kasich told Ohio delegates at their daily breakfast meeting.
The night before, Sen. Ted Cruz was booed at the convention for not endorsing Trump. Kasich, too, has not endorsed Trump, and been a target of the Trump camp for his refusal to publicly back the Republican nominee.
Kasich assured the Ohio delegates that he remains a Republican who supports both Republican policies and Republican candidates. But, he said, his mother always taught him to stand for his principles.
“I look in the mirror, I feel good about who I am,” he said. “I really have no regrets about what I’ve done in my career.”
Kasich said he’ll be active on the campaign trail this year, though none of the plans appear to involve Trump.
He’s helped out Sen. Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio. Today, he will go to Philadelphia to help a congressional candidate. He also plans on stumping for Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“I will live in Arizona to make sure he gets re-elected to the U.S. Senate,” Kasich said of the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.
Kasich said he changed the way he approaches his job after a referendum in 2011 soundly rejected a Kasich-pushed bill that would have limited collective bargaining for public employees.
“We over-reached,” he said.“We didn’t listen. We didn’t unify.”
Now, he says, he sees his role as the father of Ohio.
“That doesn’t mean you sit down at the family dinner and fight with one another,” he said. “What I learned in Ohio is that you’ve got to bring people together. You’ve got to unify the family.”
Randy Ludlow of the Columbus Dispatch contributed to this report.
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