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Politics have reached a point where congressional Republicans no longer feel that they can ask difficult questions of other Republicans, even when related to legitimate oversight, according to former Ohio governor John Kasich.
“Everything is so partisan now that I think that if you’re a Republican sitting up there, you’re afraid to ask the question because then you become kind of a skunk at the Republican Party,” says Kasich, who ran for the Republican nomination for president four years ago and has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger to Donald Trump in 2020.
Republicans didn’t always have this attitude when it came to their role in congressional oversight, Kasich recalled, harkening back to his younger days when he was a member of Congress himself beginning in the early 1980s.
“It’s such a different time. When I was in the Congress and we did investigations in defense where we saw the Marines blown up in Lebanon, we had to have tough questions,” he said. “This is not, like, I’m a Republican therefore I can’t ask the administration tough questions. But this is where we’ve come.
“Some people there, probably really believe that [former Trump attorney Michael] Cohen has no credibility, that the Democrats should never have called that hearing, but at the same time if you’re on that committee, I think you want to acquit yourself by saying, ‘Let’s get to some of the facts here,’ but they didn’t do it. This is where we live today and it’s really amazing,” Kasich said.
Kasich added his reaction to Republicans willing to, he said, tolerate Trump’s behavior.
“What’s amazing to me is the resilience of Republicans and their ability to put their heads in the sand in regard to Donald Trump and his activities,” he said.
“I talk to these Republicans, [and they say] ‘Well, my 401(k)’s better,’ or, you know, ‘We’re richer and he’s been a good president,’ and all that and in the meantime, think about how much this country has been hurt, attacks on the basic institutions in this country, the FBI, the press,” Kasich added.
“I got to tell you … these are kind of nuances for a lot of people. We follow it all the time but a lot of people don’t follow this. And they’re like, ‘My life is okay, I’m working, I have money and it’s just people wanting to pick on him,’ and that’s where a lot of Republicans live.”
Kasich made his remarks during a recent segment on CNN.