Election 2020

Kasich to Trump Voters: Let Me Be the 'Vessel for Your Frustration'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a news conference in New York on March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich appeared at a podium in New York today with a handwritten list of reasons why Donald Trump shouldn’t be president of the United States, ranging from his comments on expanding the list of countries with nuclear weapons to his remark that women should be punished for abortions.

“As a commander in chief and leader of the free world, you don’t get do-overs. You need to be able to get it right the first time,” Kasich said at the press conference. “…You wonder about his hand or his thumb getting any close to the critical button that presidents are in charge of.”

But Kasich also made a pitch directly to Trump’s supporters, saying he’s the “vessel” for angry, frustrated voters.

“I want to also make clear to all of you here that for those people who have been fervent Trump supporters, their frustration, their expressions do not fall on deaf ears from me. I know that many of those Trump supporters are people who fear for the security of their jobs, believing that politicians don’t care about them as they see the rich get richer and they are increasingly stuck without wage increases,” the governor said.

“I understand the concern they have about the fact that they continue to work hard but they can’t seem to get ahead with wages not rising but yet the costs around them increasing. I can absolutely understand and even commiserate with those mothers and fathers who always believed that if their sons and daughters went and received a higher education, went to college, community college, that they would have a better life, and many of those children are currently living in the basement of mom and dad, with mom and dad wondering what kind of a life will they have.”

Kasich said he understands those voters “because I lived it.”

“I understand it because my little town was a place, where people did not have economic security, where people who one day would play by the rules would wake up and find there wasn’t anything for them, people who never seem to get the special things that can come in life,” he continued. “And they were God-fearing, hard working, community people, who wanted nothing more than the great American legacy, which is their children could do better than they’ve done. I do understand it. And there are ways to resolve this. There are clear ways in which we can restore economic security. There are ways in which we can begin to improve the situation with wages. There are ways in which we can give them hope that their children can have a great life.”

Kasich, who’s running a distant third and counting on a contested convention to win the nomination, made a direct appeal to Trump voters: “There’s hope.”

“We’ve done it before, putting a team together to improve people’s situation, including those who lived in the shadows. And, secondly, we can do it again,” he said. “So while the person that you have favored continues to move in an untethered fashion, I understand that at times he’s the vessel for your frustration, and I want to offer myself up as a new vessel that can actually understand your problems, recognize your problems, and work aggressively to fix them.”

“I take orders from no one other than my wife. I fought the establishment all of my career, and been able to beat them. And I’m willing to fight and I will beat them again.”