Joe Walsh is a former congressman from Illinois, elected for a single term as part of the Tea Party wave in 2010. He lost his next election to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, now a senator herself. Since leaving office, Walsh has worked as a conservative talk radio host, and was tricked into filming a bit for Sasha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? where he endorsed arming five- and six-year-olds in order to prevent school shootings. And on Sunday morning, Walsh announced that he was running against Donald Trump for the Republican Party nomination for president.
After hinting at a possible run for months, Walsh finally made the announcement while speaking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week. He soon tweeted, "Friends, I'm in. We can't take four more years of Donald Trump. And that's why I'm running for President." This is a sharp turnaround for Walsh, who tweeted shortly before the 2016 election, "On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket. You in?"
But Walsh has tried to distance himself from Trump for some time now, criticizing the president's apparent fondness for Russian president Vladimir Putin, as CNN reports. In his announcement video, Walsh says, "I’m a conservative. I’m running because Donald Trump is not who we are. He’s the worst of who we are."
According to Gallup, Trump currently has an 88 percent approval rating among self-identified Republicans, and that rating hasn't dipped below 81 percent since 2017.
In a New York Times op-ed, clearly laying the groundwork for his run, Walsh wrote, "The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects. In this, he inspires imitators." How exactly Walsh plans to distinguish himself from Trump remains unclear. Walsh has previously endorsed the racist rumor backed by Trump that Barack Obama wasn't a U.S. citizen, claimed that Muslims have "destroyed Europe," defended Trump by saying that "TWO hateful ideologies converged in Charlottesville," and tweeted that he's "I’m sick and tired of the Sandy Hook parents. They’re partisan & political. They can be attacked just like anyone else."
Originally Appeared on GQ