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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