Ohio governor John Kasich has not asked for a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in his home state in July and has “zero expectations” of receiving one, the Guardian has learned. The absence of Kasich, the popular Republican governor who was one of the last remaining rivals to Trump in the presidential primary, would be an almost unprecedented snub and represent a major blow to Trump’s efforts to unite the GOP around him.
In a statement, top Kasich adviser John Weaver told the Guardian: “We have not asked for a speaking slot and have zero expectations of receiving one.” Weaver added: “Governor Kasich will have a full schedule of events around the convention aimed at helping Republicans keep control of Congress and winning down ballot. Of course, this will be on top of his responsibilities as governor in regard to security issues in Cleveland.”
Kasich’s statement comes the day after Trump told the New York Times that he would require the Ohio governor and Texas senator Ted Cruz to endorse him in order to speak in Cleveland. “If there’s no endorsement, then I would not invite them to speak,” Trump said of Kasich and Cruz, his last two opponents for the Republican nomination.
Political conventions normally give prize speaking slots to major political figures in the state where the convention is held. In 2012, Florida senator Marco Rubio introduced Mitt Romney when he accepted the Republican nomination in Rubio’s home state in Tampa, while other major Florida elected officials like former governor Jeb Bush and Representative Connie Mack got prized slots earlier in the evening. In 2008, Minnesota senator Norm Coleman spoke on two different nights when Republicans assembled in St Paul.
But, in addition to being Ohio’s governor, Kasich is also a former presidential candidate. Traditionally, defeated candidates for the nomination get speaking slots as well even after the most bitter and hard-fought campaigns. John McCain had a major speaking role in the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia despite waging a vicious primary battle against George W Bush.
In not speaking at the convention, Kasich joins a number of other prominent Republicans who also will not be appearing, including Senate majority whip John Cornyn and Utah representative Mia Love, once considered a potential vice-presidential pick for Trump.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.