Former congressman said on CNN current Republican party is ‘a cult’ and urged voters to ‘come together to stop’ Trump
Former US congressman Joe Walsh has ended his long-shot campaign to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
Calling the current Republican party “a cult” of obeisance to Trump, he urged voters of all stripes to rid the White House of the man elected in a shock result in 2016, when they go to the polls in November.
Appearing on CNN on Friday morning to announce he was dropping out, Walsh said: “Donald Trump is the greatest threat to our republic right now.”
He added: “The rest of this country needs to come together to stop this guy, period.”
Walsh, 58, a conservative talk radio host, served one term as a representative of Illinois.
On the campaign trail recently, he said: “Every time I’m out there talking primarily to Republican voters, because that’s what I’m trying to do, there are a lot of Republicans that get angry at me and we get threats every day and it can get ugly.”
He added: “But I’m always amazed at the number of Republicans who tell me, ‘I like some of the things Trump’s done, Joe, but I’m exhausted with Trump.’ Every day it’s the Donald Trump show. So I think I have an opportunity to do better than people think and I hope I can do that in Iowa.”
Walsh had been expected to compete in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, but with a predictable trouncing in Iowa and Trump on a victory lap this week after being acquitted at his impeachment, Walsh succumbed to the political reality.
“I can’t stop him [Trump] in a Republican primary, but I can sure do my level best to try to stop him … by bringing people together,” Walsh said on Friday.
“Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House,” he said later.
Walsh was elected to a congressional seat in Illinois in 2010 as part of the rightwing Tea Party movement, a confrontational populist splinter group of the Republican party.
He lost his seat two years later to Democrat Tammy Duckworth and became a Chicago-area radio talkshow host.
While less than half the country approves of Trump’s performance as president, he retains high support within the Republican party.
Former South Carolina lawmaker Mark Sanford ended his bid for the party’s nomination in November. Another Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, has failed to gain traction in polls.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.