On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Kasich if Trump owes Obama an apology, saying that for a lot of people, questioning the birthplace of the first black president was “a dog whistle.” But Kasich dodged the questions.
“You know, Chuck, yeah... Well, I don’t know about that,” he said, talking over Todd.
“Look, I’ve said all these things about Mr. Trump,” he continued. “I’m not here on this trip to be talking about this issue. This is not where I want to make news.”
Kasich also wouldn’t say if the Republican presidential nominee’s political identity started with birtherism.
After more than five years of fueling birther conspiracy theories that Obama was not born in the U.S., Trump flipped and admitted on Friday that the president was in fact born in America. The statement came just days after Trump once again refused to answer whether he believed Obama is an American citizen.
Kasich attributed the birther movement, and Trump’s contribution to it, to a “growing division and anger between people of different parties” across the country.
“There was tremendous hatred being directed at George W. Bush, you know, that he needed to be impeached and all these insane things,” Kasich said. “And that same anger has moved on to Barack Obama. And it’s going to move on to whoever who should win this election.”
Kasich added that the U.S. should be “alarmed with the drift” in the nation, but didn’t want to vent his anger of frustration with the direction his party has gone this election cycle.
“This is not where I want to make news. I want to be involved in a bigger discussion,” Kasich said. “There’s going to be a lot of people hacked off at me because I dare come to the White House to help the president on one issue I agree with him on.”
Kasich, who ran for the Republican nomination as well, visited the White House Friday to endorse Obama’s work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and joined the administration during its weekly press briefing.
CORRECTION: This article originally said that Kasich said Trump should apologize; in fact, he declined to answer the question.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.