WASHINGTON — Joe Walsh, the conservative talk show host and former GOP House member from a suburban Chicago district, once a backer of Donald Trump and now leading a charge against him, is weighing a primary bid against the president.
“Won’t rule it out. Somebody should challenge this unfit divider in the White House,” Walsh told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday night. He added, “I’m considering a run and won’t take long to make up my mind.”
Walsh, elected to Congress in 2010 on the tea party wave, served one term and now hosts the nationally syndicated “The Joe Walsh Show,“ heard in Chicago on 560-AM The Answer radio.
Walsh, no stranger to provocative comments and incendiary language while in office and after, vaulted into the 2020 presidential arena when he wrote in an Aug. 14 New York Times op-ed, “There’s a strong case for President Trump to face a Republican primary challenger.”
He added, “In Mr. Trump, I see the worst and ugliest iteration of views I expressed for the better part of a decade. To be sure, I’ve had my share of controversy. On more than one occasion, I questioned Mr. Obama’s truthfulness about his religion. At times, I expressed hate for my political opponents. We now see where this can lead. There’s no place in our politics for personal attacks like that, and I regret making them.”
Walsh said on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” on Monday, “I want the Republican Party to wake up and challenge him, make the moral case he is unfit.”
Trump, Walsh noted, “lies almost every time he opens his mouth.”
As in his op-ed, Walsh apologized on the show for the verbal grenades he has launched. Trump’s “ugly” rhetoric “forced me to reevaluate and reappraise my tone and I’m not going to engage in this ugly personal attack stuff anymore.”
To date, only former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is in the Republican primary. Others besides Walsh considering a run are former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford.
Walsh has gotten a big burst of renewed national exposure in the wake of his stop-Trump op-ed even as the Republican National Committee and the GOP leadership in Congress are in Trump’s control.
Walsh called Trump a “danger to the country” and an “unfit con man,” foreshadowing the punches he will throw if he runs.
GOP OPPO RESEARCH GROUP SETS UP ILLINOIS SHOP
The America Rising PAC, devoted to digging up damaging factual information on Democrats, is opening a front in Illinois with its new “Illinois Rising” project.
Sarah Dolan, the executive director of the PAC, based in Rosslyn, Virginia, across the Potomac from D.C., is a former press secretary for former Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., so she has some familiarity with this turf.
They will be looking at state and local officials and already are targeting vulnerable freshmen Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, as well as House Speaker Mike Madigan’s operation.
Dolan said one “tracker” is already on the ground in Illinois and attending and videotaping public events, with the recording sent back to Rosslyn HQ to be scoured by teams of professional researchers.
UNDERWOOD BACKING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
Underwood flipped the 14th District in 2018, one Trump won in 2016. She has been cautious regarding impeachment — and now she is willing to take a risk. In an Aug. 5 interview, she said, “We need to move forward in a way that brings the community with us, because if I act unilaterally, or what’s perceived as unilaterally, and leave my community behind, then it looks like a power grab.”
On Monday, asked about an impeachment inquiry at a town hall in Shorewood, she said she supported the House Judiciary probe, “essentially an impeachment inquiry.”
CATALINA LAUF IS THE 7TH REPUBLICAN IN 14TH PRIMARY
Now seven Republicans are in the 14th District primary, with the latest being Catalina Lauf, 26. As a Trump appointee, she was a special adviser to the National Director of Minority Business Development Agency at the Commerce Department. The Woodstock resident also did a stint at Uber.