• Anti-Trump Republican/Former Congressman Steps Up to Primary the President

    Surge Summary: Former Illinois Republican Congressman Joe Walsh has thrown his hat into the ring as a primary challenger to Donald Trump. 

    Just in case you were worried things were going to be totally fireworks free on the Republican side of the primary ledger in the ramp up to 2020’s elections …

    Ronn Blitzer/Fox News reports:

    Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announced Sunday morning that he’s challenging President Trump in the GOP primary race – he’ll be running for the Oval Office as a Republican. His declaration was accompanied by a no-holds-barred attack on the president’s character and qualifications, going after Trump’s social media habits and general behavior.

    “I’m running because he’s unfit; somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative,” Walsh said. “The country is sick of this guy’s tantrum — he’s a child.”

    Curiously, Walsh offered some self-criticism, acknowledging some of his own past behavior echoed that for which he is criticizing Donald Trump. Walsh even admits he played some role in Washington’s divisive atmosphere which he believes led to election of the current Chief Executive.

    “I helped create Trump,” the Tea Party favorite told ABC News‘ George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Sunday morning. “I feel responsible for that.”

    Stephanopoulos called out Walsh for making outlandish statements of his own, including calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim and an enemy. Walsh said Trump “made me reflect on some of the things I’ve said in the past,” acknowledging that at times he “went beyond the policies and idea” and “said some ugly things about President Obama that I regret.”

    When asked if he truly believes what he said about Obama, Walsh responded, “… [N]o, and I have apologized for that.”

    The fifty-seven-year-old former congressman made a series of blunt, acerbic personal attacks against President Trump.

    “He’s nuts, he’s erratic, he’s cruel, he stokes bigotry … the only thing he cares about is Trump.”

    Walsh also cited Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border and to have Mexico pay for it, which has not happened.

    “He’s incompetent. He has no freakin’ clue what he’s doing.”

    Walsh claimed that Trump was “tweeting us into a recession” and warned that “he’ll tweet us into war.”

    The Trump campaign’s response to Walsh? So far, it’s been uncharacteristically tight-lipped. “Whatever,” campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said to ABC.

    Walsh only served one term in Congress. After his district was redrawn in 2012, he lost against Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth that same year.  Although acknowledging, probably sensibly, his chances for overthrowing Mr. Trump are slim, he’s hoping his effort will help encourage a change of direction for the GOP.

    Walsh disclosed he was inspired to attempt the primary effort by positive response he received to an op-ed piece he wrote for the New York Times earlier this month. In it, he addressed what he saw as the need for a Republican challenger to the president.

    Former Massachusetts Republican Governor Bill Weld, by the way, has already announced he is running against Trump in the primaries and has begun campaigning against him.

    Although Joe Walsh has reportedly been a vocal critic of the President, his entrance into the primary contest has got to seem like it came out of nowhere to most voters.  He’s, furthermore, almost certainly on-the-money recognizing he won’t be replacing Donald Trump on the November 2020 ballot.

    Still, from campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh’s oddly restrained reaction cited above, one wonders: could parts of Walsh’s criticism serve to inspire the normally garrulous, often outrageous Mr. Trump to trim back some of the rhetorical excesses and theatrical shenanigans which regularly do little else but distract from his praiseworthy policy accomplishments?  If so, that could be a helpful contribution from the erstwhile Republican representative, making Donald Trump a better candidate and, eventually, an even more effective president.

    Image: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Joe Walsh, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64191256

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