Governor John Kasich says there’s no moral equivalency between counter-protesters and Nazi sympathizers, and President Donald Trump should not be concerned about winning an argument over who’s more responsible for last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Think if you were an eight-, nine-, 10-year-old getting ready to go to school like they are in Ohio, and you happen to come from a Jewish family, or you’re African-American, and you hear this kind of hatred,” the Republican Kasich told NBC’s Today Show on Wednesday morning.
Kasich’s comments came the morning after the President reversed course and again laid partial blame for violence in Charlottesville on counter-protesters who showed up at a white nationalist rally.
"I'm not putting anybody on a moral plane,” Trump told reporters gathered inside Trump Tower in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon. “What I'm saying is this — you had a group on one side, and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch."
"But there is another side," Trump continued. "There was a group on this side, you can call them the left, you've just called them the left, that came, violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that's the way it is."
Kasich said the presidency appears to be "being reduced to another CEO job” and “bitterness appears to be setting in.”
“The President has to totally condemn this,” Kasich said. “And this is not about winning an argument. Now these folks apparently are going to go other places, and they think that they had some sort of a victory. There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, and anybody else. Anybody else is not the issue.”
On Twitter, for the first time, Kasich ripped white nationalists, saying there was no room for them in the Republican Party.
Let's get real. pic.twitter.com/vM8gJ8lWrc
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 15, 2017
Kasich said he's been restrained in his criticism of Trump, but his stance on Trump’s comments regarding white nationalists in particular has grown stronger in the past couple of months. In late January he tweeted a statement chiding Trump’s travel ban for seven predominantly Islamic countries.
Democrats took it further, criticizing the executive order as reflecting white nationalist rhetoric. But at a forum in February, Kasich deflected a question about that: "Are you concerned that there are white nationalists who have control in the White House right now?"
"Look, I've said all I have to say. I've been at it for 11, or 12 or 13 days, I'm not saying anymore today," Kasich replied.