Former Ohio governor and Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich will be among the featured speakers kicking off the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday, taking the virtual stage alongside prominent liberals such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Kasich, who has frequently strayed from the GOP line as an outspoken critic of President Trump, told CNN last week that he would speak on behalf of 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the hopes of unifying a politically fractured nation.
“I don’t think the country does well when we’re divided,” Kasich, 68, told the network. “I believe we need a new direction. We just can’t keep going the way that we’re going.”
Kasich, who lost out to Trump in the fight for the Republican nomination in 2016, mulled making another run in 2020.
While the former two-term Ohio governor ultimately opted to sit on the sidelines, he’s still cheering on Trump’s challenger.
“I felt it’s the right thing to do,” he told CNN. “I would encourage other Republicans to know that it’s OK to take off a partisan hat … and vote on the basis of what your conscience tells you about the future of our country, not just for yourself but for your kids as well.”
Kasich is expected to speak sometime between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday in the convention, being held virtually with the coronavirus pandemic still raging.
Other scheduled speakers on Monday — the first day of the four-day convention — include Sanders, Cuomo, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former first lady Michelle Obama.
Former Vice President Biden will formally accept the party’s nomination Thursday, while running mate Sen. Kamala Harris of California will speak on Wednesday.
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