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Someone has stepped up to challenge Trump in GOP primary; 'The country is sick of this guy's tantrum — he's a child'

2019-08-25

Former Congressman Joe Walsh on Sunday announced he’s challenging President Trump in the Republican primary. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Tell Trump to get ready for a tea party.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh announced Sunday he’s challenging the president in the Republican primary.

“We’ve got a guy in the White House who’s unfit. Completely unfit to be president,” Walsh, who rode the GOP’s ultraconservative Tea Party wave to Congress in 2010, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“It stuns me that nobody stepped up, nobody in the Republican Party stepped up,” the one-term congressman from Illinois continued. “Everybody believes — in the Republican Party, everybody believes that he’s unfit. He lies every time he opens his mouth.”

While Trump’s overall approval rating is low, with 64% of Americans saying they disapprove of the job he is doing in a recent Associated Press poll, he remains wildly popular among the GOP base. Nearly nine in 10 Republicans approve of him, according to Gallup Daily tracking averages.

Other than Walsh, the only Republican who’s tossed his hat in the ring for the presidential primary is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. He has failed to make a splash since announcing his run in April.

Walsh, 57, now a talk-radio host, indicated he would make a moral case against Trump, saying, “The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum — he’s a child.”

“This Week” moderator George Stephanopoulos pointed to Walsh’s own controversial record, including Walsh’s statements questioning former President Barack Obama’s citizenship and Walsh’s use of racial slurs on Twitter.

“I got personal and I got hateful. I said some ugly things about President Obama that I regret,” he said.

Walsh added that his past inflammatory remarks — such as tweeting in 2016, “Obama is a Muslim” — contributed to the president’s rise.

“I helped create Trump, and George, that’s not an easy thing to say,” he said. “I went beyond the policy and the idea differences."

The ex-congressman went on a tirade against the president, saying, "He’s nuts, he’s erratic, he’s cruel, he stokes bigotry. ... The only thing he cares about is Trump.”

Walsh said he voted for Trump in 2016, but added that Trump’s conduct in office has given him cause to reconsider things.

“The beauty of what President Trump has done is, George, he’s made me reflect on some of the things I have said in the past,” Walsh said.

The Trump campaign had a dismissive one-word response to Walsh’s announcement.

“Whatever,” spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a text to ABC.

Pro-LGBT group GLAAD highlighted Walsh’s homophobic statements over the years, such as saying in 2018, “A transgender ‘man’ is a woman.”

“The former congressman has an anti-LGBTQ record that would likely continue to roll back acceptance for LGBTQ Americans across the nation,” GLAAD stated.

Shortly after announcing his run, Walsh released a campaign video urging Americans to have “the courage to finally say publicly what we all know privately.”

“We’re tired of a president waking up every morning and tweeting insults,” he continued, citing a litany of grievances. "We’re tired of a president who sides with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin against our own intelligence community.”