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Kasich Says He Can't Support GOP If Party 'Can't Be Fixed'

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.
CNN
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Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

In perhaps his biggest indication yet that Gov. John Kasich could buck his own party, the Republican governor said if the GOP "can’t be fixed," he can’t support it going forward.

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the two-term governor said “there is a struggle for the soul of the Republican party and the soul of the Democratic party.”

Kasich made his comments in response to being asked if Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama who’s made anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim comments, is the future of the Republican party, as President Trump advisor Steve Bannon has said.

“Those claims are ludicrous,” Kasich said about Moore’s political views.

Kasich has recently pushed against the GOP's swing toward nationalism, inviting immigrants to come to Ohio, and broken from the party in gerrymandering court cases.

"If the Republican party is going to be anti-immigration, if it's not going to be worried about debt, if it's going anti-trade, this is nowhere our party can be," Kasich said.

Kasich said he wants the party to be "straightened out."

“Is the tail wagging the dog, or is that the dog? I’m certainly fighting to make sure it’s the tail wagging the dog and the party can be fixed," Kasich said. "If the party can’t be fixed, Jake, then I’m not going to be able to support the party. Period.”

Kasich also said President Trump's response to the crisis in Puerto Rico - in which he insulted the mayor of San Juan and called critics "politically motivated ingrates" - was "not appropriate."

"When people are in the middle of a disaster, you don't start trying to criticize them," Kasich said. "It's not the way that we handle disasters here."

Kasich also referenced recent polls that show an increasing number of Americans supporting independent candidates.

When asked if this his way of saying he’s becoming an independent, Kasich said, “No, not at this…what I’m saying is we need to fix it.”