Kasich blasts Trump's phone call to Putin

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday scoffed at President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's decision to call Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his recent electoral win, laughing outright at the idea of doing so.

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" whether he would have made the call to Putin if he were president, Kasich laughed and replied: "Of course I wouldn't have called."

"Look what he did in London, look what he did to the gentleman in Moscow on the bridge, Nemtsov," Kasich added. "Look, this guy is — he's the worst. He's a dictator."

ADVERTISEMENT

Kasich's comments were an apparent reference to the recent poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England, with a military-grade nerve agent, as well as the 2015 assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. The Russian government has been faulted for both.

Trump reportedly ignored the advice given to him in briefing materials this week when he phoned Putin to congratulate him on his win in Russia's presidential election, which has been criticized by election observers as one-sided. Putin won 76 percent of the vote.

The phone call to Putin prompted wide criticism of Trump, who has often appeared reluctant to take a hard line against the Russian leader.

Kasich, 65, is considered a possible contender to challenge Trump in the GOP primary in the next presidential election, although the governor avoids answering questions about his possible plans.