Former Ohio governor John Kasich said Tuesday that while most Americans who voted for former President Donald Trump are “gone,” some of them are “redeemable.”
Kasich, who briefly ran against Trump for the GOP nomination in 2016, made the comments in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon after the host noted that only a few Republicans in Congress supported impeaching Trump for an unprecedented second time, while continuing to blame him for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol Building.
The former GOP congressman began by saying he had a conversation with one of the 10 Republican House members who voted for impeachment, saying the lawmaker, whom he did not identify, expressed concern about how “he can help fix the Republican Party.”
“I said, ‘You know what, that’s fine, but why don’t you think about being an American before you’re a Republican, let’s get the country fixed,’” Kasich said.
Lemon responded with a quote from his sister implying that people have to be open-minded enough to be convinced they’re wrong before asking Kasich his thoughts about the future of “the Trump party.”
“I think it leads to a dead-end, Don,” Kasich said.
“Republicans are kind of thinking they did well, you know, in the state and local elections. They did. But you know why they did well is — they ran a campaign saying Democrats wanted to defund police, that they’re socialist, you know, that they’re going to completely wreck the economy,” he continued.
“Now that we elected Joe Biden — and, you know, I think …. he’s getting pretty good grades from people who are not just in the political bubble. People around are saying they like his tone, they like the way he’s approaching things,” he added.
Kasich went on to say that if Republicans continue to rely on “scare tactics,” in the long run “that will fail.” The former lawmaker then ticked off a short list of “21st-century” issues such as “healthcare, the wealth gap, community and police” the GOP has to address if it wants to remain viable.
He then discussed a resolution passed by the Oregon Republican Party which said there is “growing evidence” that the Capitol riot “was a false flag” operation.
“Honestly, Don, what we have to ask ourselves are, who’s redeemable?” Kasich said. “Who we bring over to say this is — this is just wrong. This never happened this way. And we’ve got to figure out how to talk to some of those people and reach them, Don, and get them back.”
Earlier this month, federal law enforcement authorities said they think the Capitol assault was preplanned because it appeared as though some participants were using military-style “small unit tactics.”
That could mean the attack was not the result of a demonstration by supporters of the then-president simply gone awry or that those who planned it were even Trump supporters.
“For a moment, I thought I was watching a repeat of one of my shows from a while back,” Lemon responded, chuckling, before letting Kasich speak again.
“I’m as frustrated as you are, man,” Kasich continued. “Think about what I’ve been doing for the last five years. Think of all the people that have been criticizing — and I can take it. It’s not bothering me. Really, it isn’t. I’ve taken heat too.
“But if I lose my patience, I lose them. Some of them are redeemable. I can tell you they are. And you know that some of them are, don’t you? You’ve met them. They’ve gone up to you and said, ‘Lemon, you’re right,’” he noted.
“This is not a question of redeeming people,” Lemon countered. “It’s not my job to judge people or redeem them.”
“I’m talking about bringing them back — pull them away from these crazy theories out here,” Kasich replied.
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