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Kasich Still Refuses To Say The Name 'Donald Trump'

Gov. John Kasich talks to the Ohio delegation Thursday.
Gov. John Kasich talks to the Ohio delegation Thursday.
Gov. John Kasich talks to the Ohio delegation Thursday.
Credit ML Schultze / WVXU
Gov. John Kasich talks to the Ohio delegation Thursday.

CLEVELAND – His own presidential campaign is over; Donald Trump will accept his party's nomination for president Thursday night; and, still, Ohio Gov. John Kasich won't speak Trump's name in public.

Thursday morning, the Ohio governor – who was the last GOP presidential contender to withdraw from the race, winning only Ohio's primary – showed up for the first time this week at the Ohio delegation's daily breakfast to a standing ovation from a friendly crowd.

And, right off the bat, he talked about the criticism he has received for not entering the convention hall all week and for not speaking at the convention, despite being the host governor.

"I think you can all figure out why I didn't show up to speak after what you heard last night,'' Kasich said, referring to the Wednesday night session where vice presidential candidate Mike Pence accepted the nomination and where former GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz was booed when he spoke without endorsing Trump for president.

In a short speech, Kasich did not mention Trump once.

Instead he talked about all the congressional candidates he plans to help this fall.

He said he is going to Philadelphia Friday to help a GOP congressional candidate. He said he'll help Ohio's junior senator, Rob Portman, get re-elected; and help other Republicans like Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. As for Sen. John McCain – "I will live in Arizona to make sure he is re-elected,'' Kasich said.

But nary a word about Trump.

Kasich has been criticized by many in the Trump camp for not showing up at the convention hall; and, Wednesday, he was apparently dis-invited by the Pennsylvania delegation from addressing their daily delegation breakfast – ironic in that Kasich is a native of Pennsylvania.

He was unapologetic about his actions when he spoke to the Ohioans Thursday.

"I have no regrets about my political career,'' Kasich said. "My mother, my dear mother, gave me some very good advice. 'Tell it like it is, Johnny. You stand on your principles.'"

He said he has always tried to do that, even though "that's always dangerous because you don't want to be self-righteous."

During the primaries, and even after his own campaign failed, Kasich had criticized Trump for what he considered to be angry rhetoric that he believed divided Americans rather than uniting them.

Kasich would have none of it. Kasich said Thursday that he is the one who has to look himself in the mirror every day.

"At the end of the day, it's just you and the mirror – well, you, the mirror and the Lord,'' Kasich said.

Kasich said he is proud of the "Ohio Against The World" T-shirts that he has seen and that many Ohio delegates will be wearing at the final session of the GOP convention, when Trump gives his acceptance speech.

"Ohio against the world; I love it,'' Kasich said. "These are shirts that signify the pride that has come back to our state. In Ohio, no one is left behind."

"You should be proud of what we have done in Ohio,'' the lame-duck governor said. "We have not left the poor, minorities, the disabled behind."

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