Calling the current political climate "disturbing," outgoing Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich told "Fox News Sunday" that he is "actively considering" mounting a primary challenge to President Trump in the 2020 election.
Kasich -- who suspended his 2016 presidential bid in May of that year, and only claimed a win in his home state of Ohio after consistently lagging far behind Trump in all major polls -- said he has a slew of advisers analyzing his prospective candidacy every day.
"All options are on the table," Kasich said, including running as an Independent if he cannot secure the Republican Party nomination. "We look every day -- I have a team of people who look every day at the factors that go into a consideration like that. We assess it, and at some point I will make a decision."
Kasich said Republicans performed well in Ohio during the 2018 midterm elections and got "smashed" elsewhere because the GOP in Ohio used a different "road map" -- one focused on "hopefulness."
Republicans last month secured a veto-proof majority in the Ohio State Legislature, and won not only the gubernatorial contest but all four down-ticket races. Trump won Ohio by nearly 10 points in the 2016 presidential race, and several political analysts now say the state -- owing in part to changing demographics -- is no longer the swing state it historically has been.
"You can't ignore your allies. You can't just do things on your own -- 'America First,'" Kasich said, referring to the president's campaign slogan and stated principle of governance.
Primary challenges can severely damage sitting presidents, even though primary challengers themselves have not won the presidency in the modern era. Pat Buchanan's 1992 race against President George H.W. Bush for the Republican nomination demonstrated the influence of the party's hard-right wing, and Ted Kennedy's 1980 bid against President Jimmy Carter deeply divided Democrats just as Republicans united behind then-nominee Ronald Reagan.
Kasich specifically suggested Trump had erred by not pushing a prospective deal this summer to provide border wall funding in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
"A president can't just get everything they want," Kasich said. "I dont understand why he didn't make the deal. Give me a couple billion for the wall and in exchange for that we let the DACA people stay."
But House Republicans had overwhelmingly rejected that arrangement. The sprawling, compromise GOP immigration bill that would have provided a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants while directing $25 billion for the construction of a border wall failed in the House despite encouragement from the president for Republicans to support it, by a 301-121 vote.
Kasich concluded by criticizing Trump's announced withdrawal of troops from Syria, saying that while the decision may have fulfilled a campaign promise, it was "precipitous" and came too quickly without proper warning to allies in the region.
"The implications of what all this means long-term for our foreign policy, for our domestic agenda, is really up in the air," Kasich said. "It concerns me a great deal."