Former Illinois congressman turned anti-Trump zealot Joe Walsh, who in 2011 was designated by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) one of the “most corrupt members of Congress,” has called for President Donald Trump to be primaried.
Walsh, a purported Republican, was triggered into issuing this call after the president retweeted a video from a conservative comedian who’d suggested that perhaps deceased billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was murdered by former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“[T]his guy in the White House is a disaster for the party and the country. … I mean, every single day he says something or does something,” he said Thursday morning on CNN’s “New Day.
“He lies to the American people. I mean it. … [I]t feels like a year ago, but it was just a week ago the president of the United States sent out a tweet accusing a former president of murder. If we — if Republicans don’t stand up right now and challenge this guy right now, he’s bad for the party, he’s bad for the country, we’re going to get wiped out in 2020.”
Listen to the whole interview below:
His appearance on CNN occurred a day after The New York Times published a nearly 1000-word-long column from him formally calling for the president to be primaried.
“There’s a strong case for President Trump to face a Republican primary challenger,” he wrote. “I know a thing or two about insurgencies. I entered Congress in 2011 as an insurgent Tea Party Republican. My goals were conservative and clear: restrain executive power and reduce the debt. Barack Obama was president then, and it was easy for us to rail against runaway spending and executive overreach.”
Yet a report from CREW published in 2011 found that Walsh’s own personal finances were littered with problems: “Rep. Walsh has a long history of financial problems, including tax liens, lawsuits alleging his failure to pay debts, and the foreclosure on his Evanston condominium,” the non-profit reported.
Most notable among his problems was his failure to pay child support — despite possessing enough money to fund his campaign for Congress.
“Despite Rep. Walsh’s failure to pay child support for years, in 2009 and 2010 he was able to lend his campaign tens of thousands of dollars and live in an expensive home,” the report notes. “According to Rep. Walsh’s campaign finance reports, Rep. Walsh personally loaned his campaign $35,500 between November 19, 2009 and August 11, 2010 – a period when Ms. Walsh alleges he failed to make any child support payments at all.”
See the report’s section on Walsh below:
Continuing the discussion Thursday morning on CNN, host John Berman then asked Walsh why he’s become an anti-Trump zealot, when the facts show that he’d initially supported the president.
“You know, like a lot of people, John, I voted for Trump. I didn’t love him. I didn’t like him. I voted for him because he wasn’t Hillary,” he replied. “Look, he lost me, John, officially at Helsinki over a year ago when he stood in front of the American people and said, I stand with that guy Putin instead of my own people.”
During a press conference held last summer alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president appeared to agree with his Russian counterpart that the Russian government hadn’t interfered in the 2016 presidential election. While Trump’s critics described the move as treasonous, his defenders argued it was just diplomatic posturing.
“John, we’ve — we’ve never had that in a president,” Walsh continued. “And, again, Republicans, generally — that piece I wrote in ‘The New York Times’ yesterday, John, most Republicans agree with me. Most of my former colleagues up on Capitol Hill agree with every single word I said. They’re scared to death to say that publicly.”
Polling data maintained by RealClearPolitics shows that the president has consistently been over-performing against his one primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.
While Walsh may have just been speaking about his “former colleagues up on Capitol Hill,” the assertion that “most Republicans agree with me” is still factually inaccurate:
Walsh did argue in his op-ed, however, that he believes Weld isn’t the right Republican to challenge Trump.
“Yes, William Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, is challenging Mr. Trump from the center,” he wrote. “But the president is more vulnerable to a challenge from the right. I’m on the right, and I’m hugely disappointed that challenge hasn’t yet materialized.”
“Mr. Trump’s most vulnerable against a challenger who’d make the case for strong borders — instead of warning of ‘invaders,’ dragging us down, turning neighbor against neighbor. A majority of Americans want fixes to our most basic problems.”
It appears the former congressman wants a milquetoast candidate — perhaps someone like deceased Sen. John McCain, who lost the 2008 election, or someone like current Sen. Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election — who’ll tell soothing tales instead of the candid truth.
What’s unclear is why he chose to share his message through the Times, a virulently left-wing outlet whose readers are primarily comprised primarily of Democrats, not Republicans.
Perhaps he wanted to get the message across to them that he’s not such a bad guy — that he too thinks #OrangeManBad? Sadly for him, though, it seems like his willingness to throw Trump under the bus and effectively embrace the Democrats hasn’t earned him any love:
Walsh didn’t find much love from the left on Twitter either:
Former Rep. & Teabagger Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) called @realDonaldTrump an “unfit conman”, a “racial arsonist”, and apologized for helping elect the #GrifterInChief. This is the same prick who said "If Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket." Ap. not accepted. #RatsOnASinkingShip
— Thomas Williams (@ThomasW26234441) August 15, 2019
Since Joe Walsh is trended, I will do a retweet recap of his history of anti-Black racism. I have been calling him out for YEARS over his racism, so NOW he wants to distance himself from his Trump support https://t.co/wkpT8CR3xr
— Tariq Nasheed ?? (@tariqnasheed) August 15, 2019
"It’s one of the many reasons Mr. Trump is ripe for a primary challenger." -Joe Walsh apologizes for helping to elect an Unfit Con Man.
I'll forgive him if:
1. He gets Trump primaried
2. He washes all the sheets in the WH by hand after the Trumps leave https://t.co/BBw27cSWoz
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 15, 2019