Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday threatened Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans who refuse to support presidential nominee Donald Trump, saying the party may take steps to ensure it’s not “that easy for them” to seek the White House again.
Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Mr. Priebus said every Republican who ran in 2016 needs to get behind Mr. Trump.
Those who haven’t — including Mr. Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — could see diminished support from the party moving forward.
“People who agreed to support the nominee, that took part in our process, they used tools from the RNC. They agreed to support the nominee. They took part in our process. We’re a private party, we’re not a public entity. Those people need to get on board,” Mr. Priebus said.
“And if they’re thinking they’re going to run again someday, I think we’re going to evaluate our process, the nomination process, and I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them,” he said.
Mr. Kasich said it’s “very unlikely” he’ll vote for Mr. Trump … “too much water under the bridge,” the Ohio governor said in an interview with CNN that aired Friday.
Mr. Bush has expressed similar sentiments, and Mr. Cruz famously withheld an endorsement of Mr. Trump during the Republican National Convention and instead told Republicans to “vote their conscience” in November.
Mr. Priebus denied that he was threatening Mr. Kasich, Mr. Cruz or anyone else, yet he clearly suggested the party would put roadblocks in front of the electoral hopes of anyone who hasn’t offered a full-throated endorsement of Mr. Trump.
“People in our party are talking about what we’re going to do about this … It’s not a threat. It’s just a question,” the RNC chairman said. “What should a private party do about that if those same people come around in four or eight years?”
Mr. Kasich, a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate himself, said it’s still important to get out the vote for Republicans like Sen. Rob Portman, who is running for re-election in Ohio.
“We want to get people out to vote. We want to re-elect Senator Portman, and we want to re-elect people down ticket,” Mr. Kasich said. “I’m not voting for Hillary [Clinton].”
“I’ll let everybody know … but I think my actions have spoken very loudly. Louder than even my words,” he said.
Mr. Kasich was in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention in July, but he did not attend the convention itself.
Asked about Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, Mr. Kasich said: “I haven’t even gone there yet. It’s a long way [until] Election Day.”