Radio talk-show host and former congressman Joe Walsh announced today that he’s running as a Republican candidate for US president in 2020. After all but declaring a bid in a campaign-testing New York Times op-ed—entitled “Trump Needs a Primary Challenge”—the one-term House representative from Illinois said on ABC’s This Week: “I’m going to run for president.”
Walsh coupled the announcement with a tweet and the launch of a campaign website, saying, “We can’t take four more years of Donald Trump.”
In his first campaign video—a minimal, one-shot take slowly zooming in on the candidate—Walsh solemnly intones, “These are not conventional times, these are urgent times.”
Walsh is positioning himself as a more conservative alternative to Trump. In his Aug. 14 Times piece, he wrote that the president lacks moral judgment and has overseen increased deficit spending. “Fiscal matters are only a part of it,” Walsh wrote. “His lies are so numerous he can’t be trusted…He’s the worst of who we are.”
Joe Walsh joined Congress amid the initial Tea Party wave during the Obama era. Since then he’s been a critic of the Trump administration on his eponymous radio show. Currently his show’s site redirects to his campaign site.
Winning over Republican voters may prove challenging. While Trump doesn’t have the 94% approval rating among Republicans that he claims, he does score well there, according to polls conducted by Monmouth University (84%, pdf) and AP-NORC (79%).
In appealing to potential donors, Walsh urged them to “tell the world that you’re ready to be brave.” With 14 months until the elections, there’s certainly time for that.