Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said Thursday that he is “strongly, strongly considering” a primary challenge to President Donald Trump, arguing no other Republican publicly mulling a bid could mount a competitive campaign to oust the president.
“I’m strongly, strongly considering it,” the former Illinois congressman-turned-radio host told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “If somebody’s going to get in there and go after him, John, it’s got to be done soon. You’re running out of time.”
Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh says he is “strongly, strongly considering” launching a presidential bid to challenge Trump in 2020.
— New Day (@NewDay) August 22, 2019
Walsh said the field of potential candidates in the Republican Party is lacking the right message and talent to effectively take down the president in 2020.
“These are not conventional times. Look at the guy in the White House. These are urgent times. Somebody needs to make that case,” Walsh said. “I have yet to hear any potential Republican make that case.”
Walsh served one term in Congress, representing a suburban district near Chicago after winning an upset victory with 291 votes in the 2010 Tea Party wave, when Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives. Walsh lost the seat to Democrat Tammy Duckworth in 2012 by 10%.
Since leaving Congress, Walsh has been a conservative political commentator with his own syndicated radio show.
Walsh said his possible presidential run would take aim at Trump’s character, launching attacks that Walsh said other Republicans would not make.
“The only way you primary Donald Trump and beat him is to expose him for the con man he is,” Walsh said, later admitting to backing Trump in 2016 but noting that his support for Trump faded after Trump denounced the U.S. intelligence agencies at an international press conference in Helsinki, Finland. More importantly, Walsh said, was Trump’s inconsistent relationship with the truth. “Virtually every time he opens his mouth, he lies,” Walsh charged.
Walsh joins a growing group of Republicans who have publicly flirted with the idea of mounting a primary challenge against the president, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, and Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year. Former moderate Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is the only candidate who has launched a campaign challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, but he is failing to pick up much support. Weld ran for vice president on the libertarian ticket in 2016.
Update: “President Trump enjoys unprecedented support among Republicans. He has already delivered a long list of incredible accomplishments for conservatives and the country. Republicans are firmly behind the president and any effort to challenge him in a primary is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement to The Federalist.