Former Rep. Joe Walsh Just Made It Official: He’ll Challenge President Trump for the Republican Nomination

The conservative radio host, like Trump, has a long history of racist commentary.

Joe Walsh announces run for Republican nomination challenging Donald Trump. ABC This Week

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Former Republican lawmaker Joe Walsh officially announced his longshot run for the presidential nomination on Sunday, challenging President Donald Trump. After hinting at it in recent interviews, Walsh announced his candidacy in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, criticizing the president and attempting to address his former support of Trump and his own long history of racist statements.

“We’ve got a guy in the White House who’s unfit, completely unfit to be president. And it stuns me that nobody stepped up, nobody in the Republican party stepped up,” Walsh told Stephanopoulos. “In the Republican party, everybody believes that he’s unfit. He lies every time he opens his mouth.”

The conservative radio show host from Illinois served one term in the House of Representatives. He was a vocal Trump supporter in 2016, tweeting, “if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket. You in?” Now he hopes he can flip other former Trump supporters to weaken his base. 

“I have—I helped—I helped create Trump. There’s no doubt about that, the personal, ugly politics. I regret that. And I’m sorry for that,” Walsh told Stephanopolous. “I went beyond the policy and the idea differences and I got personal and I got hateful. I said some ugly things about President Obama that I regret.”

Walsh has a long history of racist comments. He promoted birtherism and other conspiracy theories against former President Barack Obama. He also defended the use of racial slurs on his nationally syndicated radio show, among other controversial statements. 

Walsh joins former two-term governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld in challenging the president for the Republican nomination. Weld has called Trump a “clear and present danger to our country, to the globe and to himself.” 

When asked about Walsh’s challenge, the Trump campaign reportedly commented a single word: “Whatever.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate