Kasich scolds GOP leaders for thinking "they have to ask permission from the president to do anything"

Last Updated Jun 2, 2018 7:04 PM EDT

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he is "shocked" Republican leadership thinks they have to "ask permission from the president to do anything," when they need to stand up for their principles and legislate -- even if that goes against the president's views. 

Kasich -- like many Republicans in Congress, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan -- disagrees with President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on ally nations. But on that matter, and other pressing matters, Republican leadership isn't taking action, he told CBS News' "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan. 

"Margaret, I have been frankly shocked at the fact that our leaders think they have to ask permission from the president to do anything," Kasich said in an interview airing Sunday. "This is very foreign to me, it's alien to me. When you are elected to the United States Senate or the United States House of Representatives, you have a duty to represent your district, but most important, represent your country, not to just be thinking about your political party."

Pressed what Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and Ryan should do, Kasich said they should do "whatever they can" legislatively and "send a clear signal" -- even if that legislation is ultimately vetoed by the president. That stands true not just for tariffs, but on other important matters like immigration. The president announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young immigrants who entered the country illegally but as children, and Congress and the administration have been unable to reach a solution.

"I think they ought to make it very clear that they're not going to just sit back and tolerate this, that they're going to do whatever they can do legislatively to send a clear signal," Kasich said. "The same way, they ought to be doing these things on the issue of DACA, those are the Dreamers that are here. You know it's like, 'well we don't want to pass an immigration bill because the president might veto it.' Well, send it to him. Let him veto it. I mean that's your job as a congressman."

"And I have to tell you that I'm very proud of this group of Republicans who are saying that they're going to do everything they can to get a vote on immigration reform and protecting the Dreamers," Kasich continued. "Now, there's great cynicism in this country that the only reason why they would do it is because of their own political bias. I don't buy that. I know Carlos Cabello, he's a fine man. You know, every time a politician does something that represents justice or is positive, it's not because they have a sinister motive or self-interest, it might be because they just think that it's the right thing to do."


The full CBS News "Face the Nation" interview with Kasich will air Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET. You can catch a rebroadcast of "Face the Nation" on Sundays at 11 a.m & 6 p.m. ET on CBSN.