Ohio governor and possible GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich called recent protests in Cleveland as a “model” for cities experiencing racial tensions.
“They should be so proud of themselves and we should look at Cleveland as a model,” the Republican who is considering a 2016 campaign for president said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
A judge on Saturday acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo in the 2012 shooting deaths — prompting concerns of protests that would turn violent, as they had in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Protests was anticipated after the ruling, particularly with the Cleveland verdict coming in the wake of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
While it’s true Cleveland responded more positively than some other recent notable cases, Kasich went beyond the protests, suggesting what may be going right in Ohio, versus elsewhere.
Kasich credited local politicians and ministers in helping keep the protests nonviolent, and also pointed to a state task force that he created, which recommended a statewide policy on the use of deadly force and more research into the recruiting of minority police officers.
“And it’s serving us well,” he said. “But the credit goes to the leadership in Cleveland who have spoken with one voice saying protest, but no violence is acceptable in Cleveland. And the people of Cleveland should be proud of what’s been happening here in the last 24 hours.”
With several incidents of domestic unrest playing out around the country, Kasich may be smart to try and seize upon his state’s handling of urban and racial issues as a talking point. He also claimed he is looking to see if there’s a path to victory for him in the primary — and that he’s not interested in a vice presidential slot as an alternative.
Kasich said he is still considering running for president and is weighing whether he “can win.”
“We have metrics set internally,” he said, referring to fundraising and polling goals.
He touted his credentials: The governor of a large state that plays a crucial role in deciding the outcome of presidential elections; former House Budget Committee chair during President Bill Clinton’s term when Congress enacted balanced budgets; and an 18-year veteran of the House’s defense committee.
But Kasich dismissed the idea he would be the ideal vice presidential nominee for the GOP.
“Forget it, forget it, forget it. I don’t play for seconds,” he said.