Ex-GOP lawmaker argues for Trump primary challenge from the right

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Former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) made the case for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecurity analyst calls Trump’s language on Hong Kong protests ‘inappropriate’ Americans’ opinions about China hit record low: survey Pentagon watchdog says it is officially reviewing billion ‘war cloud’ contract MORE to face a conservative primary challenger in an opinion piece for The New York Times on Wednesday.

Walsh, who has become a vocal critic of the president, wrote that he voted for Trump in 2016 not because he supported the Republican nominee but because “he wasn’t Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Suburbs spell trouble for Trump Campaign aide: Trump asking questions shared by ‘millions of Americans’ with Epstein conspiracy theory Iowa Democratic official: Trump tariffs starting to hurt his standing in the state MORE.”

“But I soon realized that I couldn’t support him because of the danger he poses to the country, especially the division he sows at every chance, culminating a few weeks ago in his ugly, racist attack on four minority congresswomen,” 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,” he added.

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Walsh wrote that Trump is “unfit for office” and listed issues that should make Republicans view Trump as a liability.

“No matter his flag-hugging, or his military parades, he’s no patriot. In front of the world, he sides with Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussia: Radiation levels up to 16 times higher than normal after rocket test explosion Scaramucci breaks up with Trump in now-familiar pattern Help wanted: American ambassador in Moscow MORE over our own intelligence community. That’s dangerous,” the Republican wrote. “He encouraged Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he refuses to take foreign threats seriously as we enter the 2020 election. That’s reckless. For three years, he has been at war with our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as he embraces tyrants abroad and embarrasses our allies. That’s un-American.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldTrump’s GOP challenger: ‘I may be reduced’ to debating Alec Baldwin The Hill’s Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats challenge Trump’s response to El Paso GOP 2020 primary challenger Bill Weld calls Trump ‘a raging racist’ MORE (R) is challenging Trump “from the center,” Walsh noted.

“But the president is more vulnerable to a challenge from the right. I’m on the right, and I’m hugely disappointed that challenge hasn’t yet materialized,” the former lawmaker wrote.

Walsh, who pushed to “restrain executive power and reduce the debt” while serving in Congress, said that the president is not a conservative.

“He’s reckless on fiscal issues; he’s incompetent on the border; he’s clueless on trade; he misunderstands executive power; and he subverts the rule of law. It’s his poor record that makes him most worthy of a primary challenge,” Walsh wrote.

The former GOP congressman left office in 2013 and became a nationally syndicated conservative radio host.

Despite originally supporting the president’s campaign, Walsh wrote that Trump has made him see “the worst and ugliest iteration of views I expressed for the better part of a decade.”

In 2016, Walsh wrote that former President Obama “haters Israel” because “he has always been” a Muslim at heart.

He said at the time that many Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators agree with his assessment of Obama’s religion but are afraid of publicly criticizing it.

Now, Walsh wrote for the Times that “there is no place in our politics for personal attacks like that and I regret making them.”