Former U.S. congressman, Joe Walsh, has publicly shared he would be joining the presidential race. Being a conservative who left politics to become a talk show host, Walsh has announced his campaign on Sunday, and consequently, became the second Republican candidate who will try to oppose what seems like a surefire party nomination for President Donald Trump.
Walsh was vocal in his criticism of the president, claiming Trump was “a bully” who was not suitable for being in the office. The 57-year-old, while making an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” said that the reason why he was running was because Trump was unfit to be the president. Somebody, according to Walsh, needs to step up and replace Trump. He went on to call him a coward and a bully and said that there was a need to call him out on that. Walsh puts his hope in the belief that there are many Republicans who feel the same way but don’t have the courage to say so publicly. When asked to comment on Walsh’s announcing the run and criticizing the president, Trump’s spokesman just nonchalantly said, “Whatever.”
Walsh seemingly doesn’t have a lot of support within the party. Namely, the Republican National Committee disregarded his announcement entirely. The RNC is a body which works on party processes, such as primaries. In spite of Walsh announcing his campaign, the party has already started working together with Trump’s campaign, and the two have plans on holding joint events.
No Support for Walsh
In a statement released for the press, Ronna McDaniel, Republican Party chairwoman, claimed that Trump has “unprecedented support” from Republicans. The whole party, according to McDaniel, gives full support to the current president, and they believe Trump has delivered a list of accomplishments for the country and conservatives. McDaniel said that challenging him in a primary wasn’t going to have any impact.
In 2010, Walsh won the seat in the House of Representatives from Illinois. He was a member of the Republican Tea Party movement, which was fiscally conservative. However, in his 2012 re-election bid, he lost to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. When he left Congress, Walsh turned to hosting a talk show on a Chicago radio.
Walsh joins Bill Weld in the attempt to dethrone Trump within the party. Weld, formerly a Massachusetts governor, saw his candidacy fail to get any substantial support. Additionally, Mark Sanford, previously South Carolina governor and U.S. representative, said back in July that he was thinking about challenging Trump in a primary due to federal debt being on the rise. Weld expressed his support to both Walsh and Sanford’s campaigns (should Sanford decide to run). He said that it would help the country to have a more open dialogue within differently opinionated party members. He added that there was a need for more rational people speaking their minds.
However, it seems that successfully challenging Trump might prove to be next to impossible. The president has enormous support from other party members and is the major focal point of the party’s national and state apparatus. According to different polls, 87%–91% of Republicans support Trump and are happy with his presidency so far.
Walsh’s Past in Politics
Walsh, on the other hand, is determined to press on with his campaign. He said that people’s obsession with Trump could “catch on like wildfire.” He jumped ahead of expected criticism about his involvement with the Tea Party and addressed the topic before critics did. The Tea Party was a confrontational group within the Old Party with populistic ideas.
Walsh admitted to going overboard several times in his political career and went personal and hateful. He claimed that he went beyond the differences in ideas and regretted making hateful comments about the then-President Obama. In a way, Walsh added, he was responsible for Trump’s rise and felt responsible for his ascension.
Walsh commented that the president’s behavior made him reflect on some of his past comments, remembering that, at times, he allowed political arguments with Obama to get a personal note. Walsh feels that this shows how he is different from Trump, who never accepts to apologize for anything. He reiterated he helped create Trump, and he said he was sorry for doing so.