Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) said the recent protests and violence at Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s rallies are part of the “toxic atmosphere” Trump has created and that it will cause America to not vote for him.
Partial transcript as follows:
DICKERSON: We now want to turn to Ohio Governor John Kasich, who joins us from Cleveland. Governor, I want to start with something you said about Donald Trump. You said, “There’s no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of people who live in our country.” How exactly is he preying on fears?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, he’s done a lot of name-calling, and he’s created a very toxic atmosphere, where he’s — look, just — well, you want start with immigration? Do you want to start with the things that he has said about Muslims? Where does it end? I mean, it’s just — it’s putting one group against another. And it’s created a toxic atmosphere. And I’m not going to tell that, in his rallies, some of these people don’t show up who want to create problems. That happens in all volatile situations. But, you know, John, look, America’s greatest strength is its people. And our greatest strength in people is when we’re unified. And there’s no doubt that he’s run this divisive campaign. And it’s concerning to me. And at the end of the day, he’s not going to be the nominee. And we’re going to learn from this. And I’m going to win Ohio on Tuesday. We will be competing all across the country, and it’s going to be a new day. You just wait and see.
DICKERSON: One of the things he says, and that others say, too, is that, well, the voters are just angry, and he’s not preying on fears, this is just the nature anger that’s out there. Talk about that line a little bit, the difference between the voters who are angry and then the politicians who poke at that anger.
KASICH: Sure. Well, look, I think, first of all, there are people that are upset. They’re worried about their jobs. They’re worried about their wages, which haven’t gone up. They put their money in the bank. They get no interest. And their kids are still living in their home after they get a college degree. These are real concerns. I said it in the first debate, that he was tapping into something out there. The reason I understand it is because I grew up in that environment as a kid. But the way you get those voters is to tell them how you can fix things. And that’s why I always talk about the strength of my record, whether it was in Washington, helping this economy to take off, or whether it’s been in Ohio with the creation of over 400,000 new jobs here. So, I also think you can walk into a room, John, of a hundred people, and you can put them in really bad mood or you can walk into that same room and you can get them to be hopeful. I notice this everywhere I go, because, when I show up, I talk about the way we can fix things and how people need to work together and don’t wait for somebody else to show up, begin to change the world in the world in which you live. And the hopefulness of it, I think, works. And, frankly, since I have been so positive, it must be contagious, because the last debate was — was sweet, right?
DICKERSON: Everybody behaved themselves. Let me ask you, at that last debate, when everybody was talking about trade, it seems like, in the Republican Party, trade is now a bad word. You voted for NAFTA.
DICKERSON: Donald Trump is trying to use that against you. What happened to the — who is the promoter of free trade now in the Republican Party?
KASICH: Well, it’s sort of interesting, John, because I have always been a fair trader and a free trader at the same time. In 2001, I helped the steel companies to get a 201 trade restraint, so they could consolidate and be stronger. I have been saying for a long time that we need to have an expedited process that, when people cheat, we shut their products down. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that we have to be involved in the global market, because, frankly, one out of every five workers are connected to it; 38 million Americans have jobs that are connected to trade. So, we do want to have free trade, but we want to have fair trade and an expedited process to say that, when you’re cheating, we’re going to take action against you. And that would include manipulation of currency.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about politics. You said you’re going to win Ohio. There was — Marco Rubio said his voters should vote for you in Ohio. Are you saying your voters should vote for him in Florida?
KASICH: John, it’s really hard to tell your voters to go vote for somebody else. But, look, I’m not campaigning in Florida. My focus has been in this state and in Illinois. And, look, at the end, this is not like stop somebody. This is about my telling people the way the country ought to be run and the experience that I have had and why I have had success, so I can give them the hope that we actually can pull the country together, remember we’re Americans before Republicans and Democrats, and solve our most vexing problems, frankly, using conservative principles.
DICKERSON: You mentioned Americans before Republicans. That’s actually an argument people are using against Donald Trump, saying — and some of your rivals seem to be wobbly in terms of whether they’re going to stick with that pledge and support him. Where are you on that?
KASICH: Well, I would like to support the nominee. But he’s not going to be the nominee. That’s just not going to happen. But I said at the last debate he makes it difficult. And we will see how this goes. I mean, we have to — he’s got to have — begin to lift people and stop dividing people. And the toxic environment must end. This is not making us proud. Think of the videos that have been shown all over the world of people slugging it out at a campaign rally. There are people around the world that are shaking their heads, who are saying, what the heck has happened to America? We will be fine. The people are smart. They’re going to make the right decision, in my opinion.
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