Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he and President Donald Trump had "a very positive response" to his suggestions about improving Obamacare at the White House — but he wouldn't criticize his former Republican primary rival, telling reporters that "it's sort of like if you're on a plane, you are rooting for the pilot."
"Look, the man is the president of the United States," Kasich said. "It's sort of like if you're on a plane, you are rooting for the pilot.
"You don't want the pilot to screw up.
"I can have my opinions, but now it's time to be constructive," he continued. "And sometimes, being constructive is to not be positive, to make your point.
"I'm very glad that I've been able to make my point on this whole business of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act," Kasich said. "If it upsets Republicans in the Congress, that's life."
Kasich repeatedly slammed Trump during the primary campaign — refusing to appear at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year where Trump was officially nominated — and he later declined the nominee's request to become his running mate.
None of his complaints about Trump came out during the meeting, nor did he try to bury the hatchet with the president.
"I had a mother who taught me to stand on my own two feet and sometimes to speak out, but I never meant any of the times to be personal in my criticisms or concerns."
He said that President Trump "was very generous with his time and he listened a great deal to my concerns" — including human trafficking, drug abuse and Obamacare.
"He listened very carefully to what I had to say about it and had a very positive response and was very open to it and asked a number of questions," Kasich said.
He said that he would be meeting with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Saturday to discuss ways to fix Obamacare.
"The federal government ought to get its nose out of the business where they have created disruptions — and we need to deal with the problem of the pharmaceutical industry and their high costs," he said.
The governor repeatedly sidestepped questions that would have led him to slam Trump, eventually telling reporters: "It takes time for people to get stabilized — and we all want to wish this president the best.
"But that doesn't mean when I wish him the best that there might not be things I don't agree with — and I'm going to say that.
"I'm not trying to pull him down or anybody else down.
"I'm not red and blue. I'm red, white and blue," Kasich said.
"If I can help my country, I'm going to do what I can — and that comes in various ways and packages."
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