‘These are not normal times’: Republican John Kasich backs Joe Biden in virtual DNC speech

Republican John Kasich says it's time to “take off our partisan hats and put our nation first.”

The former Ohio governor appeared at the Democratic National Convention on Monday in a show of bipartisanship rarely seen in party conventions. Kasich ran for president four years ago but lost the GOP nomination to Donald Trump.

Kasich told Republicans and independents wary of supporting a Democrat not to worry that Joe Biden would take a “sharp left and leave them behind” because Biden is a reasonable person who can’t be pushed around. But Kasich admitted there are places where the two disagree.

“But that’s OK, because that’s America,” Kasich said.

He cast the election as a crossroads for the nation, saying the last four years have led to dysfunction and increasing vitriol between Americans.

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Kasich left the governorship in 2018. He previously served in Congress and used to have his own show on FOX News in the early 2000s.

At the DNC Monday, Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

“In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats' convention. He added: "We can do better than what we’ve been seeing today, for sure.”

And he wasn’t the lone Republican supporting Biden at the DNC. 

Three high-profile Republicans backing Biden also got speaking slots to denounce Trump’s presidency and stand behind Biden: California businesswoman Meg Whitman, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman and former New York Rep. Susan Molinari.

Biden will accept the nomination Thursday night in a mostly empty ballroom in his home state of Delaware. California Sen. Kamala Harris, the first Black woman on a national ticket, speaks Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Trump sought to undermine the Democrats' big night by hosting a political rally in Wisconsin, where Biden's party had originally planned this week's convention. He called the Democrats' event “a snooze” before it even began.

"You know when you hear a speech is taped, it’s like there is nothing very exciting about it, right?” the Republican president said.

Democrats abandoned their plans for an in-person gathering in Milwaukee because of the pandemic. The unprecedented gathering is not only testing the bonds of the diverse Biden-Kamala Harris coalition, but the practical challenges of running a presidential campaign in the midst of a pandemic.

Trump said he had “no choice” but to campaign during the convention in order to address voters in the face of what he described as hostile news media.

“The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged," Trump said in Wisconsin, raising anew, with no evidence, the specter of significant voting fraud.