John Kasich continues to seek a middle ground on LGBT rights compared to other Republican presidential candidates, although he thinks LGBT people who face discrimination should “just for a second get over it.”
The Ohio governor made the remarks during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired Sunday on “State of the Union” in response to a question on whether he would take steps against state anti-LGBT laws like the one recently passed in Mississippi.
Kasich initially replied he wouldn’t take steps against those laws, then added, “I haven’t even been asked that or thought about it.”
Urging people to “calm down,” the governor said the country needs to protect religious liberty, but also can’t allow discrimination, so must “strike a balance” on the issue.
“What I like to say is, just relax, if you don’t like what somebody is doing, pray for them,” Kasich said. “And if you feel as though somebody is doing something wrong against you, can you just for a second get over it because this thing will settle down?”
Kasich lamented the issue has “become a wedge issue that can be exploited by people on both sides,” saying the country should be the United States and not the “Divided States.”
The 2016 hopeful made the remarks after saying he “wouldn’t have signed” North Carolina’s controversial anti-LGBT law and dismissing Mississippi’s new law that enables anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious freedom.
TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said Kasich is trying to have it both ways on the issue of anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious freedom.
“Either you’re for discrimination, or you’re against it,” Helmstetter said. “To tell LGBT victims of discrimination to ‘just relax’ and ‘get over it’ is disrespectful, outrageous, and not the kind of leadership expected from a credible presidential candidate.”
Helmstetter concluded, “Trump and Cruz may make a lot of people look reasonable by comparison, but Kasich is no ‘moderate.’ He’s certainly no friend to the LGBT community.”