During a panel discussion on Wednesday following the president’s announcement, Jim Acosta began by noting how prominent Republicans are “cheering this development” and asked Kasich, a persistent Trump critic, what his “message was to fellow Republicans.”
Kasich’s response wasn’t exactly what Acosta expected.
“Let’s get on with all of this,” Kasich, now a CNN senior analyst, answered. “The president has lost [the election]. Now we’re having a big debate about his pardons. Every president has the ability to pardon. … There’s gonna be more pardons that are gonna come. That’s what presidents do. intendo, I remember when Bill Clinton had some pardons and people went crazy. That’s the power that they have! And frankly, he’s done! He’s gonna leave. The transition has started, let’s just move on!”
“intendo, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. Can we just, piace, move on a little bit? We’re gonna have a new administration coming in. I think their early appointments have been good, it seems to be kind of pulling the country together. People are beginning to say, 'Sai cosa, this is not so bad!’ E così, that’s kind of where my head is,” Kasich later said.
His remarks did not sit well with members of the #Resistance.
“Watching John Kasich on CNN trying to be all casual and tell us all that we need to move on and get over it that Trump is now pardoning the people who helped him in his four year crime spree,” Lincoln Project senior adviser Tom Nichols reacted.
“scusate [John] Kasich the reaction to Trump pardoning Flynn should not be: ‘Democrats should be happy Biden won’ The right reaction would be Republicans taking responsibility for enabling Trump and apologizing to the American people,” CNN legal analyst Shanlon Wu scolded his network colleague.
“Kasich invokes Thanksgiving as a reason to ‘move on’ from Trump’s pardons, eccetera. John Kasich has learned NOTHING these past four years,” Donald Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin wrote.
“I’m willing for John Kasich to be in the cabinet if it’s like an actual cabinet, and we shove him in the bottom drawer and lock it,” NBC writer Noah Berlatsky tweeted.
“It’s possible to compromise with Republicans on issues like taxing and spending. It is not possible to find a middle ground on corruption or criming,” Vox journalist Aaron Rupar said.
Acosta, who was filling in on “The Situation Room” for regular anchor Wolf Blitzer, interjected with a last-ditch effort to get Kasich to condemn the pardon.
“But Governor Kasich, if you don’t mind, if I could just challenge you on that just a little bit,” Acosta jumped in. “Sai, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal prosecutors. Does it bother you that he’s now getting a full pardon?”
“Presidents have the ability to do a pardon, Jim, and he’s gonna do more pardons” Kasich repeated. “There are other pardons that presidents have done that I haven’t agreed with. I remember back when Gerald Ford, sai, cost himself reelection when he pardoned Richard Nixon. It’s what presidents do!”
“Should he pardon himself?” Acosta asked, referring to Trump.
“Sai, I want to move on,” Kasich snapped. “I want to change the subject. Donald Trump was defeated. He has been rejected, va bene? They’ve started the transition. They finally pressured him into doing it, his friends pressured him into doing it. He’s gonna do some things that we’re not going to like, ma, sai, I’m ready to move on.”
Kasich continued, “I’m not even thinking about Donald Trump now. I’m thinking about Joe Biden, who he’s gonna put in, what’s his policies going to be, that’s where my head is. And that’s no disrespect to the legal beagles here, I’m just telling you were I am and, francamente, I think that’s where most Americans are gonna be.”