Republican Ohio Governor and infamous public eater John Kasich denies he is mulling a 2020 presidential bid with moderate Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.
“Chuck, look, Kasich/Hickenlooper. You couldn’t — first of all, you couldn’t pronounce it. And secondly, you couldn’t fit it on a bumper sticker,” Kasich told host Chuck Todd.
Pressed further on the possibility, which was reported by Axios last week, Kasich replied bluntly, “The answer is no, OK?”
The failed 2016 candidate for the Republican nomination was a vocal critic of Trump on the campaign trail, and made a nebulous version of “unity” the benchmark for his primary bid. Trump and Kasich battled furiously during the primary, with Trump even mocking Kasich for his “disgusting” eating habits on the campaign trail.
Since losing the nomination, he has released a book, Two Paths: America Divided or United, and has been a regular critic of Trump since the president was inaugurated.
But Axios reported last week that recent appearances with Hickenlooper to talk about improving America’s healthcare system are in fact part of an alliance looking toward a joint independent bid for the presidency in 2020, with Kasich leading the ticket.
The outlet said in addition to a “bipartisan” plan for health care, the two want to start talking more about immigration and job creation.
“The Johns’ jobs plan will focus on the coming displacement from automation, with prescriptions that include trade, workforce training — and an optimistic and hopeful message, balanced with an honest admission that some jobs just aren’t coming back,” Axios reported.
The two are also planning to create either a podcast or a cable TV show — shows that include conversations on politics, policy, and pop culture.
However, according to Axios, plans were far from clear with Kasich still mulling a primary challenge to Trump. It was also unclear whether Democrats would get on board. While the outlet notes Democrats have been woefully weak in providing an effective opposition to Trump, it reported that some Democrats were “apoplectic” about a Kasich/Hickenlooper ticket.
“No Dem wants Kasich anywhere near our ticket. Sounds like a No Labels fantasy, but moderate Dems would hate it,” one strategist said, although another operative admitted that “something big and historic needs to happen to break the logjam” in Washington.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY