Standing with Obama on TPP at White House, Ohio governor defies his state’s voters
Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich went to the White House on Friday to stump for a top priority item for President Obama and Wall Street — and to undercut Donald Trump.
If the irate reaction from Republicans when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie simply embraced Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is any measure, Kasich is in for a torrent of intense criticism from members of his own party.
In the bizarre and unprecedented move, Kasich appeared at a White House press briefing to advocate for Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
The conference was billed as a bipartisan push for the TPP. Kasich was joined by former New York mayor, political independent and Wall Street billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and by Henry Paulson, the former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs who served as treasury secretary under Republican President George W. Bush and was the architect of TARP.
Both Bloomberg and Paulson have endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest. Kasich said it was “very unlikely” he would support his party’s nominee in an interview with Dana Bash on CNN Thursday.
The decision to stand in solidarity with Obama in support of the TPP comes at an awkward time for Kasich. A slew of recent polls suggest Republicans opposed to the TPP are gaining momentum in Kasich’s home state of Ohio.
Even in light of his personal vendetta against Trump, the decision to participate in the pro-TPP publicity stunt is an odd one for Gov. Kasich, who will be seen as undercutting his own party eight weeks before a national election — despite the GOP’s rising support in his home state.
The decision to stand side-by-side with Obama and hammer any Republicans who oppose the TPP is not likely to damage Trump’s campaign, but it could certainly provide fodder for attacks on down-ballot GOP congressmen who’ve pledged to oppose the TPP in a lame duck session.
Perhaps Kasich, who worked for investment bank Lehman Brothers before becoming governor, is looking for a fresh golden parachute from Wall Street or perhaps a prominent position in a Clinton cabinet. If rumors are true that Kasich intends to mount another presidential bid in 2020, the decision to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Obama and Bloomberg against his own party seems very odd indeed.