CHICAGO (CBS) — Conservative talk show host and former Republican congressman Joe Walsh might jump into the 2020 race for president, to challenge President Donald Trump in the GOP primary.
“I’m strongly, strongly considering it,” Walsh told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” on Thursday morning. “If somebody’s going to get in there and go after him, it’s got to be done soon. You’re running out of time.”
Walsh suggested he’ll decide on a potential run by early September.
“Labor Day’s in what — a week. If you want to get in, you’ve got to get in within the next week or so,” he said.
A former congressman from a suburban Chicago district, Walsh said if he does decide to run against Trump, he would “punch him every single day.”
“Trump’s a bully and he’s a coward, and the only way you beat a bully and you beat a coward is to expose them, is to punch them,” Walsh said. “The only way you primary Donald Trump, and beat him, is to expose him for the conman he is.”
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) August 22, 2019
Last week, Walsh apologized for his role in helping elect Trump. He said he voted for Trump in 2016, but only because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. Where Trump lost him, Walsh said, was during his press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last year in which he sided with the Russian strongman over his own intelligence community’s assessments of interference in the 2016 election.
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Walsh accused Trump of being a “racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects.”
Walsh served only one term in Congress, representing the 8th District in the northwest suburbs, losing to Democrat Tammy Duckworth in 2012, but said he’s confident he could beat Trump. He said he thinks any “good challenger” could beat the president in the Republican primary, if they make the case that Trump is unfit to serve in the White House.
“He lies every time he opens his mouth. If you’re not going to say that, then don’t even challenge Trump,” he said.
Even if he can’t beat Trump, Walsh said it would be worth challenging him.
“This is a scary time, and if Republicans … stay silent in the face of this guy, I don’t think the country will ever forgive the Republican Party,” he said. “Forget about the Republican Party. If this guy gets four more years, we’re in real, real trouble. It’s worth doing anything you can do to try to stop that.”
Walsh said he’s shocked at how few Republicans have stood up to Trump.
“He’s a horrible human being. He’s a bad, bad guy and every single day – every single day – you, I, and everybody watching us right now is reminded of how damn unfit he is,” he said. “The Republican Party will always, always regret the fact that they did not call this man out. Somebody has to.”
Trump’s only prominent primary challenger so far is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who has focused much of his 2020 effort campaigning in New Hampshire.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said is also considering a challenge to Trump in 2020, and earlier this month said he would take 30 days to decide if he would run.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)