Former Rep. Joe Walsh on Thursday called President Trump “an unfit con man,” apologized supporting him in 2016, and pressured Republicans to run primary challenges against the president for his past comments.
“If Republicans don’t stand up right now and challenge this guy right now, he’s bad for the party. He’s bad for the country. We’re going to get wiped out in 2020,” Mr. Walsh, a Republican who represented the 8th Congressional District of Illinois from 2011 to 2013, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Echoing a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, Mr. Walsh said he supported Mr. Trump because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton in 2016, but that support for Mr. Trump ended after the president sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence’s findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr. Walsh — now a conservative news commentator — wrote in his op-ed that he’s “disappointed” a primary “challenge hasn’t yet materialized” and told CNN that “a lot of good people are thinking about primarying Trump.”
In point of fact, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who in 2016 ran on the Libertarian Party ticket for vice president, is running in the GOP primaries against Mr. Trump.
“It’s got to be the moral case. This has got to be a mission. This guy is unfit to be President,” Mr. Walsh said, adding Republicans need “somebody to stick their neck out and say, ‘Enough. Enough, President Trump. We’re tired of the lies. We’re tired of the bullying. We’re tired of the cruelty. Enough.’ Somebody has to break that impasse.”
Mr. Walsh said Trump’s rhetoric has shown him “how ugly our side — both sides can get — but how ugly I’ve been. It’s caused me to reflect, and no longer engage in personal attacks and just focus on the policy differences.”
“One of the reasons I wrote this op-ed was to apologize — to apologize for the role that I played in putting an unfit con man in the White House,” Mr. Walsh said.
“The country was divided before Trump that’s why we got Trump. I was at the head of that divide talking about and pushing ideas I believed in,” Walsh added. “I was pushing ideas that I believed in. I’ve been very outspoken. Oftentimes, I stepped over the line.”