Ex-GOP lawmaker argues for Trump primary challenge from the right

Ex-GOP lawmaker argues for Trump primary challenge from the right
© Getty

Former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) made the case for President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE to face a conservative primary challenger in an opinion piece for The New York Times on Wednesday.

Walsh, who has become a vocal critic of the president, wrote that he voted for Trump in 2016 not because he supported the Republican nominee but because “he wasn’t Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhat Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Trump carries on with rally, unaware of Ginsburg's death MORE.”

“But I soon realized that I couldn’t support him because of the danger he poses to the country, especially the division he sows at every chance, culminating a few weeks ago in his ugly, racist attack on four minority congresswomen,” Walsh wrote.

“The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Walsh wrote that Trump is “unfit for office” and listed issues that should make Republicans view Trump as a liability.

“No matter his flag-hugging, or his military parades, he’s no patriot. In front of the world, he sides with Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden Traces of nerve agent found in water bottle in Navalny's hotel room, colleagues say Russia: US trying to foment revolution in Belarus MORE over our own intelligence community. That’s dangerous,” the Republican wrote. “He encouraged Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he refuses to take foreign threats seriously as we enter the 2020 election. That’s reckless. For three years, he has been at war with our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as he embraces tyrants abroad and embarrasses our allies. That’s un-American.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldRalph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden visits Kenosha | Trump's double-voting suggestion draws fire | Facebook clamps down on election ads Biden picks up endorsements from nearly 100 Republicans MORE (R) is challenging Trump “from the center,” Walsh noted.

“But the president is more vulnerable to a challenge from the right. I’m on the right, and I’m hugely disappointed that challenge hasn’t yet materialized,” the former lawmaker wrote.

Walsh, who pushed to “restrain executive power and reduce the debt” while serving in Congress, said that the president is not a conservative.

“He’s reckless on fiscal issues; he’s incompetent on the border; he’s clueless on trade; he misunderstands executive power; and he subverts the rule of law. It’s his poor record that makes him most worthy of a primary challenge,” Walsh wrote.

The former GOP congressman left office in 2013 and became a nationally syndicated conservative radio host.

Despite originally supporting the president's campaign, Walsh wrote that Trump has made him see “the worst and ugliest iteration of views I expressed for the better part of a decade.”

In 2016, Walsh wrote that former President Obama “hates Israel” because "he has always been" a Muslim at heart.

He said at the time that many Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators agree with his assessment of Obama’s religion but are afraid of publicly criticizing it.

Now, Walsh wrote for the Times that “there's no place in our politics for personal attacks like that, and I regret making them.”