John Kasich, a former political opponent of President Trump, said on Friday for the first time that the President should be impeached.
Speaking on CNN in his political contributor role, the former Republican governor said comments Thursday by Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, “pushed me really across the Rubicon” on the issue.
Although in the end he finished fourth in total delegates behind Mr. Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Mr. Kasich was the last man still standing against Mr. Trump in the battle for the 2016 GOP nomination.
On Friday, he referred to comments from Mr. Mulvaney that appeared to confirm that politics were a factor in at least temporarily holding back aid to Ukraine. Mr. Mulvaney later tried to walk that back, but it came too late for Mr. Kasich, a former congressman.
The House is engaged in an impeachment inquiry into communications between Mr. Trump and others close to him with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, his potential 2020 Democratic rival, and the role of the former vice president’s son, Hunter, on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company.
“I say it with great sadness,” Mr. Kasich said. “It’s not something I really wanted to do. I voted to impeach Bill Clinton, and that was really hard. This has been excruciatingly hard. This behavior, in my opinion, cannot be tolerated, and action is going to have to be taken.”
The President has denied a correlation between his call for an investigation into Democrats and the temporary holding up of Ukrainian financial aid.
If impeached by the Democratic U.S. House, the Republican-controlled Senate would try the President to determine if he should be removed from office.
The Ohio Republican Party could not be reached for comment late Friday.
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