WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Presidential hopeful John Kasich said Monday that he had not yet learned of an ongoing armed standoff in Oregon involving armed protesters seizing a federal building.
“I haven’t heard about it,” Kasich told reporters here when asked about the contentious standoff.
The evolving incident began when a group of armed protesters— led in part by Ammon Bundy, son of rancher Cliven Bundy, who engaged in an armed standoff of his own with federal rangers in Nevada in 2014 —stormed a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon claiming they feel the government shouldn’t be involved in the land in question.
Upon further pressing and even a brief explanation of the event, Kasich continued to deny knowledge of the situation.
“No, I haven’t heard about this…When did this come out?” Kasich asked the reporter.
“Yesterday,” the reporter replied.
“Yea, I’m not familiar with it. Ok I gotta get out of here,” the Ohio governor said before heading out the back door of a coffee shop.
Curiously, one of Kasich’s closest strategists did seem to be aware of the standoff, though the information appeared not to reach the candidate.
Kasich senior strategist John Weaver tweeted Sunday, “I know a good federal compound for Bundy and his gang: a U.S. penitentiary."
Other candidates weighed in on the Oregon protest on Monday, including Ted Cruz during his own first Iowa trip of the new year.
Cruz called for the protesters to “stand down.”
Kasich took questions at the cafe for over an hour from over 100 people per the campaign, and over 25 of the attendees were students and teachers from out of state schools such as Louisiana State University and Principia College.
Kasich then shook a few hands before leaving for a New Hampshire for an event later in the day.