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

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Ben Sasse emerges as GOP Trump critic ahead of November

Sen. Ben Sasse walks to the Senate from the subway to vote in June. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has dialed up his spicy slams of President Trump, including this swipe at yesterday's signing ceremony: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."

Why it matters: Trump increasingly looks — to business and to fellow Republicans — like a loser in November. So they're more likely to create distance to save their own skins. Sasse also won his May primary, further freeing him.

Pelosi: "States don't have the money" for Trump's unemployment order

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that states don't have the funds to comply with the executive order President Trump signed on Saturday, which requires them to cover 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits.

Why it matters: Many state and local governments have had their budgets devastated by the economic impacts of the coronavirus, which have caused expenses to soar and revenues to plunge.

Kudlow says he regrets claiming Trump couldn't use executive order for unemployment

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he regrets suggesting this week that unemployment benefits can only be extended by Congress.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to bypass Congress to sign four executive actions, including one that provides $400 per week in extra unemployment benefits, has prompted outcry from Democrats and even some Republicans who believe he is overstepping his constitutional authority.