Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said President Donald Trump should be impeached, a major switch for a former Republican presidential candidate who had previously said there was not enough evidence to impeach the President.
Kasich, who’s a CNN senior political commentator, told CNN’s Ana Cabrera Friday the “final straw” for him was White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s Thursday admission that military aid was withheld from Ukraine in order to pressure that country for investigations into Democrats.
“But if you are asking me if I was sitting in the House of Representatives today and you were to ask me how do I feel, do I think impeachment should move forward and should go for a full examination and a trial in the United States Senate, my vote would be yes.” Kasich said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
Kaisch’s support for impeachment breaks with his party’s overall stance. While he did not directly call for Trump’s removal from office, stating he would need to see the articles of impeachment before making that decision, his statements make Kasich one of the few high profile Republicans who have agreed with Democrats that Trump should impeached.
Kasich had previously said in interviews that he did not think Trump shoud be impeached because he didn’t see a clear quid pro quo.
“In reading that transcript, I did not see a clear quid pro quo,” Kasich said in an October 8 interview on “CNN Tonight.”
“If you have an impeachment that doesn’t bring the Republicans along, and this is done strictly along party line votes, this is going to end up not helping this country,” he added,
The Ohio Republican said the events of Thursday afternoon – Mulvaney’s admission of a quid pro quo and the announcement of the resignation of Energy Secretary Rick Perry chief among them – caused him to rethink his stance.
“The last 24 hours have really forced me to review this,” Kasich said.
At a news conference, Mulvaney confirmed that Trump froze nearly $400 million in US security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. He then attempted to claim that he did not admit to the quid pro quo a few hours later. This change in narrative, said Kasich, left him “uneasy.”
“When I look at all the information that is coming to us, and all the craziness that is surrounding the operation of the White House, now the resignation sometime this year of Secretary Perry and his involvement, it just goes on and on and on and on.”
“I fought with people on the air about ‘Is there a quid-pro-quo?’ and ‘Does this rise to the level of impeachment?’ I now believe that it does,” he continued. “At this point, there is a big cloud and I think it has to be cleared.”
While he admitted that it was “extremely difficult” for him to publicly announce support for impeachment, he called on other Republicans to do the same, saying he believes Republicans “should at least be calling for an inquiry.”
“If Barack Obama had been doing something like this, Republicans would be going crazy,” he claimed. “Now it’s their own guy doing it. What’s fair is fair.”
Kasich urged Republicans to “look at yourself and say, ‘What do we expect out of the President? How do we expect the President to conduct foreign policy? Are there some lines that simply cannot be crossed?”
“It is very difficult for a Republican to come out and say anything like this because they’re going to get attacked at home. …You gotta be willing to take the heat, frankly,” he said.
Kasich did echo another party line in the interview, calling for Democrats in the House to vote to formalize an “open” and “clear” impeachment inquiry in order “to get all the facts out there so that people can understand what’s at risk.”
This story has been updated.