Is former Ohio Gov. John Kasich starting to close the door when it comes to a possible GOP primary challenge against President Trump?
“I don't see a way to get there,” the former two-term governor turned senior CNN political commentator said Friday in an appearance on the cable news network.
“Right now, there’s no path,” he added, pointing the Trump’s strong support for re-election among Republican voters.
But a top Kasich political adviser told Fox News “nothing has changed.”
And the former governor himself took to Twitter later on Friday to temper his orignial comments.
When it comes to potentially primary challenging Trump, Kasich’s long stated that “all of my options are still on the table. ”
In an interview with Fox News last November in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire, Kasich said “I really don’t know what I’m going to do.”
“I don’t have a timetable. I don’t announce timetables because I don’t know. I have to see what the situation is and whether I could really have an impact. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time if there’s not a clear path to having a major impact,” Kasich explained at the time.
And in an interview on Fox News Sunday a month later, Kasich said "all options are on the table."
"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," he added.
Kasich, who also served nearly two decades in Congress, stressed on Friday that he’s “never gotten involved in a political race where I didn't think I could win.”
“Right now, there's no path,” he added.
But he appeared to leave a crack open, saying “we never know what the future is going to bring.”
A few hours later, after his comments received plenty of attention in the national media, Kasich took to Twitter to write "know that while the path looks tough, all of my options are on the table."
Kasich’s second place finish in the 2016 New Hampshire Republican primary behind Trump energized the one time longshot for the nomination into a potential contender. But in the ensuing months, the only primary he was able to win was in his home state.
Kasich never endorsed Trump during the 2016 campaign, even after Trump locked up the GOP presidential nomination. And Kasich didn’t attend that summer’s Republican nominating convention, even though it took place in Cleveland, in his home state of Ohio. Since Trump’s entered the White House, Kasich’s remained a vocal critic of president.
Asked about Friday’s comments by Kasich, veteran GOP political consultant John Weaver emphasized to Fox News that “nothing has changed.”
“Every day the tables could turn,” added Weaver, who served as chief strategist for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Weaver said that “all options remain on the table.”
He argued that “millions have left the party since Trump’s election” and said he’s studying whether they will “come back and participate in” the 2020 primaries.
Another vocal Trump critic, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, is the only Republican currently primary challenging the president.
But Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sparked speculation during a trip to New Hampshire last month, when he headlined "Politics and Eggs," a must stop for White House hopefuls.
Asked about launching a primary challenge against the president, Hogan told reporters “a growing number of people have been asking me to give it serious consideration and I felt an obligation that I needed to do that.”