John Kasich: ‘I Would Have Gotten Rid Of' Trump Campaign Manager Charged With Battery

The Ohio Governor spoke Wednesday at a town hall in Queens

John Kasich kicked off a campaign to win the New York Republican presidential primary by blasting GOP rival Donald Trump for not firing a campaign manager accused of assaulting a reporter.

Speaking at an MSNBC town hall at St. Helen Roman Catholic Church in Howard Beach, Kasich said he would have "gotten rid" of Corey Lewandowski after seeing video of him allegedly grabbing then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields during one of Trump's rallies in Florida.

"Now I heard there is a video I would have gotten rid of him. Period," Kasich told NBC News' Chuck Todd.

Lewandowski was charged with simple battery after he allegedly roughly grabbed Fields, who was trying to ask Trump a question during a rally in Jupiter, Florida. Surveillance footage captures the March 8 event and shows Lewandowski appearing to grab the reporter.

Trump has defended Lewandowski and said that he doesn't have "great respect" for Fields.

He also told NBC News shortly after the event that Trump's suggestion that women should be punished if abortion was outlawed wasn't "an appropriate response." Kasich opposes abortion except for in cases of rape, incest or if a woman's life was in danger and said that women shouldn't be punished.

After the event, Kasich told NBC 4 New York that he is hoping that his campaign in New York is aimed at winning over enough voters to usurp delegates from Trump so there is no clear-cut primary winner.

"I don't wanna get projecting what it's gonna be I don't think Donald trump is gonna be the nominee," he said.

Kasich's town hall, which was open to the public, aired on MSNBC Wednesday evening. MSNBC is owned by NBCUniversal, of which NBC 4 New York is a subsidiary.

Before the event, Kasich also visited a pizzeria in the neighborhood.

The Republican governor isn't the only presidential candidate to kick off his campaign for the state in the Big Apple.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton held a rally at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem Wednesday morning. One of Kasich's GOP rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, came to Manhattan for a series of campaign events last week.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is expected to campaign Thursday in the Bronx. 

Kasich currently trails Cruz and Trump in delegates needed to earn the GOP nomination. Trump has 736 delegates, Cruz has 463 and Kasich has 143. There are still 943 unclaimed delegates. 

Todd told NBC 4 New York that the state's 2016 primaries could be the most meaningful the Empire State has seen in decades.

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