Donald Trump said he never asked John Kasich to be his running mate after the Trump team reportedly reached out to the Ohio governor’s staff with the job offer.
According to a New York Times report, a Kasich senior adviser said it was Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who made the offer in May, a few weeks after Kasich suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination.
But after arriving in Cleveland Wednesday afternoon, the elder Trump distanced himself from the report, tweeting: “John Kasich was never asked by me to be V.P. Just arrived in Cleveland - will be a great two days!"
The New York Times said Donald Jr. told the staffer that as “the most powerful vice president in history,” Kasich would be responsible for domestic and foreign policy, leaving Trump with the task of “making America great again.”
Trump said he would consider the Ohio governor for the vice presidency on May 4, the same day Kasich dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination.
Last week, Trump said it was Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that was his “first choice,” among a short-list that included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
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With 18 electoral votes, Ohio has been carried by every winning presidential candidate since 1964, which makes Ohio a key battleground. That makes Kasich’s support for the party’s nominee even more important.
Kasich is still refusing to endorse Trump. In an interview with NBC News Monday, he said Trump would "have to change everything that he says" for him to agree to speak at the convention.
"We can't be attacking Muslims and Hispanics, and trying to shut down trade, and not caring about the debt," Kasich told NBC News' Lester Holt. "Those are all problems for me."
Kasich said he didn't see eye-to-eye with the Republican Party's nominee.
"I don't hold any personal animus towards Donald Trump," Kasich said. "We just are two companies that have different values, different directions, and different philosophies."
Kasich arrived in Cleveland Tuesday and avoided the convention altogether. Instead, he headlined a state party reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about a mile from the Quicken Loans Arena.
"The message for me was never about rhetoric," Kasich told a crowd of about 2,000. "There's no way I would enter a race for president just to win an election."
During a delegation breakfast Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Ohio delegates loyal to Kasich to put their support behind Trump.
Kasich’s refusal to back Trump and attend has angered top Trump staff and Republican faithful.
"He is making a big mistake. He is looking at something that is not going to happen. He is hurting his state,” Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday. “He is embarrassing his state, frankly."
Manafort continued to dig into Kasich Monday, telling Bloomberg News: “Will John Kasich finally grow up? Maybe. If he does, we'll welcome him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.