Republican Candidate for President (yes, you read that correctly) Joe Walsh stopped by the show to speak with Sharp and Shapiro about his campaign and the hurdles the GOP has put in place for any would be challengers to Donald Trump.
“The toughest thing I’ve ever done” is how Joe Walsh describes his aspirational campaign to retake his party from the enigma that has now become the “Party of Trump”. Donald Trump and Republican party heads in nine states (including Nevada) have canceled primaries or caucuses, completely.In nine states Joe Walsh and any other Republican hopeful are not allowed on the ballot. He and his team are trying to fight back (legally) against these moves, but party bosses and Trump are making it incredibly difficult. “This isn’t Russia. That shouldn’t happen in America.”
Ironically, it was Walsh who helped to create Donald Trump. “I was one of the Tea party guys whose rhetoric lead to Donald Trump.” says Walsh, who voted for Trump in 2016. And now admitting in hindsight, that he was the wrong choice — calling him a “horrible human being — period.” If he could go back there’s no way he would vote for Trump in 2016.Walsh says he probably would have voted for a third party candidate because it would still be too hard for him to vote for Hillary.
Walsh is a conservative because he’s afraid of big government. But Donald Trump is everything he fears. “I don’t want a dictator or king in the White House. I would rather have a socialist in the White House than a dictator. And right now we have a dictator.”
“We have a guy in the White House who cannot tell the truth, he puts his own interest ahead of the country. He pressured a foreign government to help him cheat in the 2020 election!” Walsh thinks that outside of Trump’s base, he hasn’t picked up any new voters. In fact, he thinks that most of the country is sick and tired of “having an absolute ass in the White House.”
Though he is no longer in Congress, Walsh said that if he were, he would have been the lone Republican to vote for impeachment. Speaking about McConnell, Jim Jordan – his former colleagues and people he was good friends with — he doesn’t even recognize them anymore. “The party is a cult. I’ve spoken to enough of these guys to know they don’t like Trump. They think a lot about Trump the way you and I feel about him, but they are afraid to say it publicly. They hope that he loses in 2020 and that the Republican party can go back to what it was.”
When Sharp brought up some of the behavior of Walsh’s former colleagues in chamber sessions – such as Matt Gaetz, Walsh’s response was immediate: “Well, he’s an idiot — I’ll start there. But this is what makes me so sad. Trump corrupts people and corrodes people. So many of my former Republican colleagues are learning from Trump, they are lying like he does. Kevin McCarthy a couple weeks ago tweeted that the IG report proved the Obama admin spied on Trump — an outright lie! But so many of these Republicans are emulating the behavior of Trump. And it just makes them look so bad.”
Curious, Sharp and Shapiro asked Walsh about his response when a constituent asks if he is happy with the economy and unemployment numbers — how does he respond?
Walsh says he does like some of those things the Trump administration has done —the judges, Gorsuch, the de-regulation.. But he doesn’t like tariffs and thinks the President screwed up the border. But Walsh’s central fear/belief about Trump remains: he is dividing the country like we’ve never seen. “I’m a conservative voter but I don’t want 4 more years of the Donald Trump show.” He adds, Nothing will get done as long as DonaldTrump is in the White House, because Trump makes it all about himself.
When he gets into that conversation with Republican voters – generally they agree. Democrats are pissed as all hell, but Republicans are just tired of him. “There’s a real exhaustion of him out there.”
Moving onto impeachment, Walsh drew comparisons between the approaches of Democrats and Republicans. He made the distinction that the Republicans have talked about the politics of impeachment, while the Democrats have talked about what’s actually right and wrong. The Democrats have talked about the constitution — “so that’s a big difference right there.”
Walsh admits that “most Republican voters on the ground disagree with me on impeachment. But when I ask if they want another 4 years of the DT show. Even most say this is exhausting, I don’t want to go through this.” He laughs, it’s why he wishes he had Bloomberg’s money. Most Republican voters want an alternative. As long as Donald Trump is in the White House it’s going to be all about Donald Trump. It won’t be about health care, infrastructure — issues that the American people care about.
The guys then got into a few other topics, namely Putin, and who Joe sees as the leading candidate as the Democratic field of nominees whittles down.
Regarding Trump and his relationship with Putin, and why there is little to no transparency from the White House, Walsh thinks it’s financial. “I think Putin and the Russian oligarchs have something over Donald Trump’s head financially — and we’ll learn this eventually. Trump is the most disloyal President we’ve ever had. I’ve called him a traitor. What else do you call someone who, in 2016 encouraged Russia to interfere? Then this past year, tells China to interfere, and then Ukraine. What do you call a POTUS who wants foreign governments to screw around with our elections? I don’t care about your politics. That should piss every American off.”
In terms of the 2020 field of Democratic candidates Walsh thinks Biden stands the best chance against Trump.
Note: Walsh pretty much had me up until this point. Biden is well past his prime and veering off in to that dangerous precipice of cognitive decline that most of us with aging parents can attest. This isn’t exclusive to Biden either, Trump is clearly presenting in many of the same ways. Only his might be less noticeable, simply because part of his brand is his bluster. Walsh added that he thinks Pete Buttigieg is an interesting candidate who has a bright future. But he worries because he doesn’t know where he stands on issues. “He seems too much of a perfect consultant’s kind of candidate.” But adds there’s no way Trump would know what do in a debate with Mayor Pete.
When asked what he would say if he had the chance to sit across a table from Donald Trump, Walsh didn’t hold back. “What I would do is put one of his lies in front of him. And I wouldn’t ask another question or move on to another issue until that SOB acknowledged that what he said was a lie. We don’t call him out on his lies. I would spend my time just putting lie after lie in front of him. I don’t care what your politics are, nobody should put up with a POTUS who lies like this.”
Walsh adds that Trump went to Washington to drain the swamp; but he is the swamp. He is the most corrupt POTUS we’ve ever had.
If Joe Walsh can recognize this, so too can others. Maybe he can even make the GOP pragmatic again… But first there’s a matter of getting back on those ballots.
You can find out more about GOP Presidential candidate Joe Walsh at joewalsh.org