He says he wants to stop Trump — but only if he gets to be the Republican nominee.
Former Republican congressman, right-wing radio host, and newly announced Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh admitted in an interview that if he doesn't defeat Trump in the Republican primary, he still isn't prepared to vote for a Democrat against Trump.
Walsh's admission came on Monday during an interview with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace.
"If it doesn't work out, will you vote for the Democrat?" Wallace asked.
Walsh said he would not vote for Trump again, and Wallace pushed him on whether he would support the eventual Democratic nominee.
"I don't know, that's the best honest answer I can you," he replied. "I don't think so."
Wallace noted that Walsh referred to Trump as mentally unfit and a danger, and that the most likely path to preventing him from obtaining a second term is to back the Democratic Party.
"I could be brought there," Walsh replied, making clear he still resists the notion. "I'm a tea party conservative. The Democrats' ideas, many of them scare me."
Walsh was best known during his congressional tenure for his failure to pay his child support, earning him the nickname "Deadbeat Joe."
In 2011, ThinkProgress reported that the father of three owed $117,437 in child support and that his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, had asked a judge to suspend his driver's license until he paid his overdue support
"Despite loaning his own campaign $35,000 — and paying himself back at least $14,200 for the loans — Walsh claims he failed to make the payments because he 'had no money,'" ThinkProgress noted.
Like Trump, who has often argued for loosened libel laws so he can sue outlets who report negative news about him, Walsh threatened to sue the Chicago Sun-Times for reporting on his parenting failures.
"This article by the Sun-Times is a deliberate attempt to defame me, and I will sue them immediately," he wrote in a 2013 statement.
Walsh's history shows someone far more in tune with Trump than against him.
- "On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket," he wrote in October 2016.
- "In America, I have a right to say blacks are lazy and the Irish are drunks. Hateful speech is protected," he proclaimed in 2017.
- "It is our right & it's our duty to profile Muslims," he wrote as Trump was attempting to implement his Muslim ban in 2017. "Until Islam reforms, we have to treat Muslims differently."
- When Trump referred to non-white countries as "shitholes," Walsh had his back. "Haiti is a shithole and it's run by blacks. The violence in Chicago is all black on black," he wrote last January.
- "The single greatest act of racism in American history was the election of Barack Obama," Walsh wrote in 2016. "People voted for him simply because he was black."
- "We LOWERED the bar for Obama," Walsh said in 2017. "He was held to a lower standard cuz he was black."
- Walsh said that "police killing black men" is "something that doesn't exist," and said black people should instead protest "blacks killing blacks."
- In 2014, Walsh was upset that "the media freaks out at the mention of 'war on whites.'"
- He complained that there were "quotas for blacks" at the Oscars and said the there should be "quotas for whites" at the BET awards.
- Walsh has repeatedly referred to President Barack Obama as a "traitor."
- "I have a right to call Obama a Muslim," he wrote just last year.
- Like Trump, Walsh promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory, referring to Obama as "not a natural born citizen" in a 2015 post. "Obama never let a voter feel his birth certificate," he wrote later that year while praising Trump.
- Like Trump, Walsh promoted the conspiracy theory that there was something nefarious and mysterious about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. "Owner of ranch reports Scalia was found w a pillow over his head. No medical exam of his body, no autopsy. Huh?" Walsh wrote in 2016.
- Walsh hoped in 2015 that someone would "behead the appeasing cowards at CNN MSNBC" who chose not to show cartoons offensive to Muslims.
- Walsh claimed in 2011 that gay people don't make good parents and that homes with same-sex couples were deficient compared to ones with opposite-sex couples.
- In 2012, Walsh complained that his Democratic challenger, Tammy Duckworth, talked about her experience as a combat veteran in Iraq. "My God, that’s all she talks about," Walsh said, and added that Duckworth — a Purple Heart recipient and double amputee — was not a hero. Duckworth defeated Walsh and then went on to become a senator.
- Walsh opposed abortion rights in any circumstances. In 2012, he claimed "there's no such exception as life of the mother" to argue against abortions even when a woman's life is threatened. According to Walsh, "advances in science and technology" meant pregnancy could never be life-threatening and thus such abortions were never necessary.
Walsh is highly unlikely to succeed in his primary campaign against Trump, who is nationally unpopular but has considerable support within the Republican Party.
"Unlike some other incumbents who drew primary challengers, Trump now has the overwhelming support of his party's voters," USA Today noted. "Other incumbents — in both parties — 'saw their base support erode a bit before reelection efforts,' said Keith Appell, a Washington-based Republican strategist. 'If anything, this president's support has grown within his party.'"
Walsh is now claiming to have had a change of heart about Trump, and he's spending a lot of time on TV saying that he doesn't want Trump to win reelection. But he isn't willing to do the one thing that would actually prevent Trump from having another term in the White House: supporting the eventual nominee who can defeat him.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.