Joe Walsh says he's 'partly responsible for Trump'

Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), the one-term congressman who is now running a primary challenge against President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE, said Monday that he and the Tea Party movement are "partly responsible" for the rise of Trump.

"I think I'm partly responsible for Trump, and that's kind of a scary thing to say," Walsh said Monday in an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Walsh was elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010, when opposition to President Obama's health care bill and stimulus policies were high.


"We engaged in this politics of personal destruction," Walsh said of the Tea Party era. "I would demonize my opponents. I would say bad personal things about President Obama, about Muslims, things that I regret."

"Those personal attacks that we got into too much I think led to the personification of Trump because ... that's all he is. He is one giant, ugly personal attack. He can't engage in the issues," he added. "I feel pretty darn responsible for having him in the White House."

Walsh similarly said in announcing his campaign Sunday that he "helped create Trump" and said he felt "responsible" for that.

As a congressman, Walsh criticized Obama's spending policies as government overreach. But he also questioned whether Obama was born in the United States, a claim he continued to make years after he left Congress.

In 2016, Walsh tweeted that he believed Obama was a Muslim and that that was why he "hates Israel."

"The answer is simple really: I think Obama is Muslim," Walsh wrote.

"I've been saying that for awhile now. It makes the GOP uneasy when I say he's a Muslim. It makes my radio stations uneasy when I say it. I say it because I believe it."

Walsh is the second person to challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldMassachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection Youngkin should blaze a post-Trump trail for the GOP The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE (R) is also campaigning to unseat Trump.