Gov. John Kasich says he won’t be at the Ohio Republican Party’s biggest annual fundraising event, which this year will feature President Trump, who is both a Kasich critic and a frequent target of Kasich’s criticism.
Kasich says he disagrees with Trump’s policies and doesn’t like his leadership style, but says he has no animosity toward Trump.
As for the Republican state dinner, which Trump is headlining this Friday, Kasich says he won’t be there because he’ll be taking one of his twin daughters to college.
“So I’m going to be spending a lot of time with her. I don’t need to be at that dinner – I mean, I’m going out, got people coming in. Let ‘em all go and celebrate and all that stuff," Kasich said.
Ohio GOP spokesperson Blaine Kelly says Trump's appearance will benefit the party's candidates heading into fall elections. Kelly says Trump is the first sitting president ever to speak at the annual dinner.
At last year’s GOP state dinner, Kasich appeared only at a pre-dinner reception and didn’t go on stage with Vice President Mike Pence, after Pence made a remark in a speech about Medicaid expansion that Kasich labeled as “fake news."
Kasich also sat out Trump's rallies in Central Ohio on behalf of 12th congressional candidate Troy Balderson, who Kasich also endorsed. Trump later blamed Kasich for Balderson's slight margin of victory in what was once a Republican-dominated district.