SIOUX CENTER—“This is more than a fight for the presidency — it’s a fight for the heart and soul of our nation.”
Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh of Chicago closed his speech Friday, Oct. 25, with his campaign slogan before opening up for questions.
Walsh’s talk was part of the Presidential Politics Conference of Iowa going on at Dordt University. He spoke for about a half-hour at the B.J. Haan Auditorium.
The 57-year-old is a conservative talk radio host and former social worker who served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Illinois’s 8th congressional district.
“Why would anyone challenge a sitting Republican president?” Walsh said. “I’m challenging Donald Trump, whom I voted for in 2016, because I believe he’s unfit. I believe he’s a danger to this country. I believe he’s a horrible human being.”
Walsh identifies himself as a Tea Party conservative first, Republican second.
“I get people calling me a socialist, Democrat, liberal, rhino or a squish because I oppose Donald Trump. I’m every bit as conservative as I was five years ago, 10 years ago, 38 years ago. I just oppose Trump, the man.
“You’re not going to find a more red blooded neo-conservative than Joe Walsh, but my challenge is not about the issues, what the Trump administration has done good and bad,” Walsh continued. “I’m going to go teach American history when I’m done with politics. Our founders started this country because they feared a king and we’ve got a guy in the White House right now who believes he’s above the law, who believes he’s a king. I believe Trump is the most extreme version of what our founders feared. I’m running against him because of that.”
Walsh said this is the most difficult thing he’s ever done because Trump’s voters are now his potential voters.
“It’s important to understand why we got Trump. Nobody more than six, seven years ago thought we’d elect a guy like Trump,” Walsh said. “He got elected because our political system is broken. Both major political parties suck. We have elites in the media and Washington who forgot about people in Iowa, in southern Illinois, who forgot about regular Americans.”
“The other reason Trump got in is because the Republican Party establishment was weak and feckless and was not listening to Republican voters,” he continued. “The biggest issue voters care about is immigration. People coming into our country illegally — it’s not right, not fair, it’s a security risk, it’s costing our nation money. Donald Trump is the only Republican in 2016 who touched that issue. That issue got him elected because the people were angry. Anger got Trump elected.”
Walsh said he believes Trump is a horrible human.
“But Donald Trump is a punch in the face to a bunch of those elites on CNN and in Washington, D.C.,” Walsh said. “I voted for that because I felt angry, felt the system needed disruption, but I didn’t want a horrible human who would act like he’s above the law. I didn’t want a president who would lie to me every time he opens his mouth. I wanted disruption, but I didn’t want a guy who wakes up every morning firing off tweets insulting average Americans.”
Walsh said he didn’t pay much attention to Trump in the years before his election in response to an audience question about how Walsh did not know much about Trumps character.
“As I watched the first year of his presidency, I had no idea he lied as much as he does,” Walsh said. “Democrats say Donald Trump divided American but that’s crap. Trump is the product of a divided American. What makes it worse is that he’s not interested in trying to unite us.”
Regarding that divide, Walsh believes America is going through another revolution.
“I believe this country is as divided as we’ve ever been since the Civil War,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. I worry about this, but it’s an exciting, interesting, engaging time to be in this country right now. I don’t care who you are politically or how old or young you are, be thankful that you’re living in America right now because we really are going through something.”
Only someone who voted for Trump in 2016 can help fix that divide, Walsh said.
“Only a former outlaw can rally the outlaws. Only a former gang member can rally the gang,” he said. “I believe only a former Trump voter can appeal to those who were like me. Is Joe Walsh going to get elected? Most Republicans believe privately they’re sick of what Trump’s done. I’m going to try to convince those Republicans there is an alternative, that what you believe privately you can vote for publicly.”