Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews “the court has ruled” on same-sex marriage and he would not advocate for any efforts to ban it, even though he supports traditional marriage.
“There could be an effort to pass a Constitutional Amendment. I’m not for doing it. I’m for moving on,” the Republican presidential hopeful said Thursday in a town hall airing on MSNBC at 7 p.m. ET.
“Exactly where it is now, I’m fine with it,” he said when asked if there are any laws that should be changed to address the issue.
In a landmark decision last year, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Many in the once crowded Republican presidential field opposed the ruling, and while Kasich affirmed he believes marriage should remain between a man and woman, he told Matthews that everyone should be “a bit more tolerant.”
The Ohio governor often talks about how he recently attended a friend’s same-sex marriage ceremony.
“I don’t think it’s right and the wedding that I went to, they know that I don’t agree with them,” Kasich said.
Asked by Matthews what gay couples who love each other should do, Kasich said: “They should love one another. That’s the end of it.”
Kasich is currently far behind both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in both the delegate count and the popular vote, but he’s sitting in second place ahead of Ted Cruz in polls of New York and other Eastern states.
The conversation between Matthews and Kasich became very lively when the topic turned to foreign policy and the Middle East.
When Matthews challenged Kasich on why he initially supported the war in Iraq, Kasich said he believed the Bush administration when they claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
“Look, I heard Colin Powell, I heard Cheney, I heard the president of the United States, and so did Tony Blair,” Kasich told him. "If we didn't have that, I would never have gone.”
"I wouldn't do that again,” he continued. "I would make sure that the intelligence was accurate. And if it wasn't accurate, I wouldn't go.”
Matthews brought up that a top briefer from the CIA told him that Bush administration officials were never advised about Saddam Hussein possessing nuclear weapons.
"Just because one guy says something and gets a nice headline doesn't make it so,” Kasich responded. "If I thought they manipulated this to get us in a war like that... you think I would defend them? Are you kidding me? I've never been — the Republican Party's my vehicle, it has never been my master.”
Kasich added that as president, he would not want the United States to engage in civil wars — "I now believe we need to get out of Afghanistan. If I were president, I wouldn't be announcing the timeline, but I would give the aircraft that the Afghans need, and I'd get out of there.” He added that he “never would have added” extra troops in Afghanistan and instead would have used special forces. “When we see Al Qaeda somewhere, take them out with drones. Take them out with special forces."
But Kasich supports putting American troops on the ground to fight ISIS now “because we have to destroy them before they destroy us."
"Do you actually think that you could destroy them without people on the ground?” Kasich asked. "Are you kidding me?”
As the animated debate continued, Kasich marveled at the discussion at the expense of the other candidates. "This is perfect,” he said. "Because none of these other people can talk about this, because they have no experience in this."