Aug 25, 2019

Republican Joe Walsh announces he will primary Trump in 2020

Conservative radio host and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced on ABC's "This Week" that he is launching a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020.

"We've got a guy in the White House who’s unfit, completely unfit, to be president. And it stuns me that nobody stepped up, nobody in the Republican Party stepped up, because I’ll tell you what, George, everybody believes in the Republican party, everybody believes that he’s unfit."
"I’m running because he’s unfit. Somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum. He’s a child. Again, the litany, he lies every time he opens his mouth. Look at what’s happened this week — the president of the United States, is tweeting us into a recession."

The big picture: Walsh isn't Trump's only primary challenger, as former Gov. Bill Weld (R-Mass.) has already launched a long-shot bid. But the Tea Party Republican would likely offer a different approach to the more traditional Weld, having created a brand for himself as a conservative activist unafraid to ruffle feathers. That has led Walsh to his fair share of controversy, including allegations of racist statements.

  • Walsh apologized for calling President Obama a "Muslim" and a "traitor," telling ABC: "I had strong policy disagreements with Barack Obama and too often I let those policy disagreements get personal."
  • Walsh laid the groundwork for a run at the presidency in a NY Times op-ed last week in which he stated the case for a contender from the right to challenge Trump. In the op-ed, Walsh said he gave Trump "a fair hearing" after voting for him in 2016, but he realized soon after he became president that he couldn’t support him.

The bottom line: President Trump has a near-90% approval rating within the Republican Party, and it will be incredibly difficult for Walsh or any primary challenger to replace him as the nominee.

Go deeper: Trump challenger Joe Walsh has an inflammatory record of his own

Go deeper

Trump challenger Joe Walsh denies he's racist: I've said racist things

Conservative radio host and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who's launching a primary challenge to President Trump in 2020, told MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" Monday that he isn't a racist, but he's said "racist things."

The big picture: Walsh joins former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld in challenging Trump for the GOP ticket.

  • The Tea Party Republican differs from the more traditional Weld in that he's created a brand for himself as a conservative activist unafraid to ruffle feathers. He's been accused of making racist statements — some of which he addressed on MSNBC.
  • After the segment aired, Washington Post journalist Aaron Blake asked Walsh to clarify his comments on the show about his racist statements.

The bottom line: As Walsh sets out to make his case in interviews like this for why he should be chosen over Trump, the president has a near-90% approval rating within the Republican Party — making it incredibly difficult for any primary challenger to replace him as the GOP nominee.

Go deeper: Trump challenger Joe Walsh has an inflammatory record of his own

Keep ReadingArrowAug 27, 2019

Joe Walsh: Islamophobic attack on Obama is "my biggest regret" on Twitter

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Walsh, the former Tea Party congressman and 2020 Republican primary challenger to President Trump, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News that his past tweets calling former President Obama a Muslim are his biggest regrets on the platform.

Why it matters: While Walsh has apologized for some of his rhetoric, his inflammatory record is littered with controversy — including statements he has admitted were racist.

Go deeperArrowAug 29, 2019

Trump challenger Joe Walsh: Canceling GOP primaries is undemocratic

Joe Walsh at a news conference. Photo: Bill Clark/Roll Call

Presidential candidate Joe Walsh told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" Monday the decision by several states to cancel Republican primaries is "undemocratic bulls--t."

The big picture: The Republican parties in the key early nominating states of Nevada and South Carolina voted over the weekend not to hold contests, as did Kansas and Arizona, per NBC News.

  • Trump has a near-90% approval rating within the Republican Party, but he faces challenges for the party's nomination from Walsh, former congressman and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Go deeper: Trump challenger Joe Walsh has an inflammatory record of his own

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show that Walsh said "undemocratic" in his quote.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 10, 2019