Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh says he wasn’t calling for violence when he vowed to grab ‘a musket’ if Trump loses

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., in 2012. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., in 2012. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh started a firestorm on Wednesday afternoon when he tweeted that he would be “grabbing a musket” if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loses the election to Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.

But in a conversation with Yahoo News as an avalanche of responses to his post began rolling in, Walsh explained that he merely was “talking metaphorically” and not about actual violence.

“I’m not talking about inciting violence. I’m saying, ‘If Trump loses, man, game on, grab your musket. We’re going to protest. We’re going to boycott. We’re going to picket. We’re going to march on Washington. We’re going to stop paying taxes. We’re going to practice civil disobedience.’ Whatever it takes,” Walsh explained.

Walsh, who became a conservative talk-radio host after he left office in 2013, said his reference to a musket, an outdated Revolutionary War-era weapon, should have made it obvious that he wasn’t seriously advocating an armed response to the election.

“What the heck! A musket! … For the life of me, it’s like the left … has no sense of humor,” Walsh said. “I mean, a musket, what damage could a musket do? What if i had said grab your slingshot?”

Walsh continued to argue that a musket was benign compared with modern weaponry.

“If I wanted to get booted off Twitter or Facebook I would have said, ‘Grab your gun and follow me to D.C.!’ But ‘grab your musket’? … I’m talking metaphorically,” said Walsh. “We have to do what we have to do. We have to practice civil disobedience to get this country back.”

Walsh predicted “all hell’s going to break out” if Trump loses. With Trump far behind in the polls, Walsh conceded there are even odds Clinton might win.

“I’m not going to be a Sean Hannity,” Walsh said referencing the pro-Trump Fox News host. “I’ll give you the straight truth. I think it’s 50-50, maybe a little less. I think Hillary’s got a lead right now.”

Predictive models based on the polls peg her chances at closer to 90 percent.

Though Walsh insisted he is not encouraging violence, he vowed to take action if Clinton is elected.

“As a former congressman, I don’t mind telling you that I’m going to grab my musket, and I am going to implore the millions of people who don’t want Hillary in the White House to do things we’ve never done: civil disobedience, stop paying taxes, whatever it’s going to take,” Walsh said.

Yahoo News also asked Walsh who would be the first up against the hypothetical wall when and if his postelection revolution comes. He said the anger would first likely be directed at members of his own party.

“Well, I’ll give you a hint. … It probably wouldn’t be a Democrat. It would probably be somebody in the Republican Party establishment who sold out, because part of what I’m saying too is ‘grab a musket’ means it’s time for another party,” explained Walsh. “The Republican Party of [House Speaker] Paul Ryan and these squishballs. … The Republican Party that’s let us down, they would have to be replaced.”

Walsh previously sparked controversy with militant tweets. In July, after police officers were killed by a sniper at a protest against the killings of African-American men by law enforcement, Walsh tweeted a warning to President Obama.

“This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” Walsh wrote.

Walsh subsequently told CNN he wasn’t trying to “incite violence against Barack Obama” and was just expressing anger at the president’s comments that minorities are more likely to be shot or searched by police. The tweet about Obama motivated some critics to report Walsh to the Secret Service. However, Walsh told Yahoo he “never heard boo” from law enforcement about the post. He said the uproar over his more recent tweet is a similar situation.

“Already here we go again with all this hate,” Walsh said of his critics. “I think the Secret Service or the FBI would look at that and they’d say, ‘Are you serious? A musket? Come on.'”

Walsh does not currently own a musket and doesn’t “know what you could do with a musket these days.” He is interested in purchasing one, however.

“I’m in the market for one. … Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to have a musket?” Walsh asked.