Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, addresses a packed room at a town hall meeting in Savage, Md. April 13, 2016.
Photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

As his Trump rebukes intensify, what is John Kasich up to?

Updated
For all the chatter about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) butting heads with Donald Trump, there’s another high-profile Republican who’s going much further to rebuke the president of his own party.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who refused to endorse Trump or even attend his party’s nominating convention in Kasich’s home state, had some more choice words for the president over the weekend. The governor, speaking to the media from Germany, where Kasich was attending the Munich Security Conference, raised concerns about Trump’s criticism of a free press, questionable support for U.S. allies in Europe, and even the scandal surrounding Russia’s role in helping put the president in office.

Kasich added that he’d spoken directly with a variety of foreign officials, many of whom expressed concern about Trump and the direction of the United States.

And while the remarks were notable, let’s not skip past the setting: what was the governor of Ohio doing at the Munich Security Conference, speaking with foreign officials?

For a guy who’ll soon wrap up his second term – the governor cannot seek a third – Kasich seems awfully busy, weighing in on the health-care debate, attending a major international security conference, publicly taking issue with Trump’s bizarre antics, and according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report, watching a new organization take shape around him.
Top political advisers to John Kasich have formed a nonprofit organization that will promote themes the Ohio governor pushed during his unsuccessful run for last year’s Republican presidential nomination.

Two Paths America is “inspired by the imagery and rhetoric of … Kasich’s description of the public policy choices facing us and the need to take the higher path,” according to a news release [issued two weeks ago]. “Two Paths America will take the same approach in supporting the best and highest policy ideas.” […]”Two Paths” also is the title of a book Kasich plans to release in April. The book will reflect on his campaign and explore issues important to the governor.
The Plain Dealer’s article added that the group and the governor’s new book “will fuel speculation that Kasich is keeping his options open for the 2020 election.”

Ya think?

I’m not saying John Kasich is definitely gearing up for a national 2020 campaign, but if the Ohio Republican were planning to lay the groundwork for another White House run, these are definitely the kinds of things he’d be doing.

And while it’s not common for an incumbent president to face a primary challenger, it’s not unprecedented, either. Since the dawn of the primary era 50 years ago, four presidents have faced credible rivals from within their own party ahead of their re-election campaigns: Eugene McCarthy took on LBJ in 1968; Ronald Reagan ran against Gerald Ford in 1976; Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter in 1980; and Pat Buchanan ran against George H.W. Bush in 1992.

LBJ decided to retire and the other three incumbents went on to lose the general election.

Watch this space.

Donald Trump and John Kasich

As his Trump rebukes intensify, what is John Kasich up to?

Updated