Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected Tuesday to deliver a speech searing his Republican Party opponents that casts his campaign as the sole off-ramp to avoid a "path to darkness." The GOP presidential candidate sits a distant third behind front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
According to CBS News, Kasich is set to argue in a speech at the Women's National Republican Club that there are two paths for American voters, one of which "could drive America down into a ditch, not make us great again." The line is a clear jab at Trump's campaign tagline and references his messages stirring fear, paranoia and division. Kasich claims those messages constitute a "path to darkness" and represent "the antithesis of all that America has meant for 240 years."
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 12, 2016
But as the Washington Post — which reported it received an advance copy of the remarks — pointed out, the planned speech takes aim at both Trump and Cruz but is perhaps a bit tougher on the billionaire businessman, especially blasting his penchant for insults and his policy proposals.
"We have heard proposals to create a religious test for immigration, to target neighborhoods for surveillance, impose draconian tariffs that would crush trade and destroy American jobs," Kasich is expected to say, according to the Post. "We have heard proposals to drop out of NATO, abandon Europe to Russia, possibly use nuclear weapons in Europe, end our defense partnerships in Asia, and tell our Middle East allies that they have to go it alone. We have been offered hollow promises to impose a value-added tax, balance budgets through simple and whimsical cuts in 'fraud, waste and abuse.'"
Part of that passage — the references to target neighborhoods and value-added taxes — takes aim at Cruz, while many of the other ideas, such as the famous religious test, belong to Trump. Kasich, does not, however, bring up either candidate by name.
Trump holds a lead of more than 200 delegates over Cruz at 742 to 529, while Kasich has picked up just 143 total delegates thus far in the primary season. The GOP race, with its controversial candidates, has inspired a bit of chaos inside the party, with rumors of a contested convention should Trump not lock up the nomination with 1,237 delegates. As of April 12, there are 17 primaries to go.
Kasich's speech will reportedly also feature a pledge that the Ohio governor will avoid the "the low road to the White House."