John Kasich targeted Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE in a New York speech on Tuesday, castigating his GOP presidential rivals for seeking to lead America down a pessimistic, self-serving path.

The Ohio governor, who did not mention Trump or Cruz by name during his speech, implored voters to join him “on this higher path.”


“From the fog of anxiety, the seemingly endless choices can be reduced and then reduced again and reduced again and they eventually are whittled down to just two,” said Kasich.

“Will we turn our backs on the ideals of America that have seen us through for more than two centuries; or, are we going to reaffirm that America is, in Ronald Reagan’s words, ‘This last best hope for man on Earth?’”

Kasich trails far behind Trump and Cruz and has yet to win a state beyond the victory in his backyard of Ohio. He’s come under increasing pressure to drop out of the race, but his team argues he could still emerge as a nominee at a contested convention in Cleveland.

In faulting Trump’s and Cruz’s tone, he lamented a list of “disturbing” solutions offered on the campaign trail, including creating a “religious test for immigration” to “target neighborhoods for surveillance” and a “hollow” promise to institute a value-added tax. Those are all proposals suggested by either Trump or Cruz. 

“Some who feed off of the fears and anger that is felt by some of us and exploit it feed their own insatiable desire for fame or attention. That could drive America down into a ditch, not make us great again,” Kasich said, in an apparent allusion to Trump's "Make American Great Again" campaign slogan.

“This path to darkness is the antithesis of all that America has meant for 240 years.” 

Kasich went on to echo Reagan again when he defended the wisdom of working across the aisle, an implicit shot at Cruz, who has portrayed himself as an uncompromising conservative
"Americans are not only fed up with Washington for what they have not done but also tired of the partisan bickering," he said. "That doesn’t mean you compromise your principles.
"I don’t think anyone would accuse Ronald Reagan of compromising his principles, but he did work with the Democrat Speaker, Tip O’Neil. That’s because Ronald Reagan was a leader," Kasich said.