Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Thursday that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s recent statements on issues like abortion and nuclear weapons reveal a candidate who isn’t prepared to be president, and he offered himself up as a new “vessel” for frustrated Trump supporters.
“It takes cooperation, it takes restraint, it takes judgment, it takes experience — not wild-eyed suggestions and basically moving from one suggestion, and then the need to try to explain what you really meant once you realize that the suggestion you made confused people or enraged people,” Mr. Kasich said at a press conference in New York.
“That is not the way that a president of the United States, it is not the way that a leader of the free world or the commander in chief of our country to be so casually talking about the use, by the way, of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Kasich said. “It just shows that he’s really not prepared to be president of the United States.”
Mr. Trump has come under fire in recent days for, among other things, suggesting women who would undergo illegal abortions face punishment and declining to rule out the use of nuclear weapons overseas, including Europe.
Mr. Trump’s campaign later tried to clarify the abortion comment, and he said in a follow-up statement that the person who performs the abortion, not the woman, should face punishment if the practice was illegal.
Mr. Kasich, who is banking on a contested GOP convention in his quest for the Republican nomination, also made a pitch to people who have thus far embraced Mr. Trump.
“For those people who have been fervent Trump supporters, their frustration, their expressions do not fall on deaf ears for me,” he said.
“I know it’s frustrating, but to the Trump voters, there’s hope,” Mr. Kasich said. “We’ve done it before — putting a team together to improve people’s situation, including those who have lived in the shadows, and secondly, we can do it again.”
“So while the person that you have favored continues to move in an unmoored, untethered fashion, I understand that [at] times he’s the vessel for your frustration, and I want to offer myself up as a new vessel that can actually understand your problems, recognize your problems and work aggressively to fix them,” Mr. Kasich said.