Kasich at White House: 'America Can't Afford to Lock the Doors and Lower the Blinds'

WASHINGTON — Ohio Gov. John Kasich took the podium in the White House briefing room today to declare that he came to D.C. to back the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal because “we cannot get to the point in America that because a Democrat wants something that you happen to agree with, you can’t agree with them.”

Kasich took part in an Oval Office meeting with President Obama to strategize how to sell the TPP to doubters.

“There’s plenty of things that I disagree with President Obama on. But the idea that I’m a Republican and therefore I can’t work with Democrats, or you’re a Democrat and you can’t work with Republicans — how does anybody think that the issues of debt, Social Security, Medicare, health care, any of these issues are going to be resolved when we spend all of our time fighting with one another?” Kasich said.

“You see, I don’t recognize this town much anymore,” the former congressman and presidential candidate added. “Because now it’s become so much about politics. And it — when politics is the order of the day and partisanship trumps country, we drift as a nation. And I’m extremely concerned about what I see.”

“This is a moment for people to begin to reverse that, to think deep inside of themselves about what matters when it comes to public service.”

Kasich said the trade deal needs to get done because he’s “not convinced it can happen after this year.”

“I don’t know where the candidates will ultimately be, but what I know is there’s a chance for the House and the Senate to actually do something. And here’s what I do believe: I believe there are people both in the House and the Senate that will play pure politics with our future to take care of themselves,” he said. “And let me also suggest to you, when that’s what you do — when you leave Washington, you didn’t accomplish anything other than what? Obstruct.”

“Look, I’ve been involved in more fights on Capitol Hill than about anybody within my party and with the other party. But at the end, you have to accomplish something. And sometimes politics today, in this town, it’s overwhelming because we all know. What, are we kidding ourselves? There’s too much politics and not enough caring about being an American. Am I right?”

Kasich stressed that “the two nations that most vociferously oppose this agreement” are China and Russia, “and all of us in this room need to reflect on this.”

“You look at Xi [Jinping], I’m astounded every day about another repressive technique he uses to control his people, even going so far as to try to regulate or dismantle the youth involvement in politics in China,” he said. “…Vladimir Putin probably wakes up every day thinking about how he can complete the work he started in Crimea, thinks about Ukraine and how much he’d like to gobble it up” or expand his campaign to the Baltics.

“I worry about the future of this country. America can’t afford to lock the doors and lower the blinds and ignore the rest of the world. We’re a force for good. And this TPP will help us not only on the economic side, but will also allow us to continue to be a strong world leader for good. Repression, lack of human rights, lack of democracy that some of these opponents to this deal support is not something that the United States should take lightly.”

Kasich was asked what’s been going through his mind with Donald Trump and the renewed birther issue this week.

“Well, what I was really thinking is that Bruce Springsteen has to be really happy because born in the USA’s probably going to sell a lot more albums,” said the governor. “That’s as far as I would go, I mean, what, am I thinking about it? I’m here for TPP and what’s happening in the world, not talking about where somebody was born.”