Conservative radio talk show host Joe Walsh, who was elected to Congress from Illinois in 2010 as part of the right-wing “Tea Party” movement, supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. He even said in one widely publicized 2016 Twitter message that if Trump were to lose the election, “I’m grabbing my musket,” which was widely interpreted as a threat to lead an armed rebellion against the government.
Walsh later denied that he was attempting to incite a violent revolution, according to CNN, calling the allegation “just silly.”
But three year later, Walsh has completely changed his tune about Trump. On Wednesday, he issued a public apology via Twitter for his role in helping to elect Trump, whom he blasted as an “unfit con man.”
“The country was divided before Trump that’s why we got Trump. I was at the head of that divide,” Walsh added, in an interview with CNN. “Oftentimes, I stepped over the line.”
Walsh was previously known for, as he acknowledged in a New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday, public comments questioning President Barack Obama’s “truthfulness about his religion.”
In other words, Walsh was among the Republicans — a list that included on repeated occasions, Trump himself, per CNN — who suggested that Obama was secretly a Muslim, not a Protestant Christian as Obama described himself.
“I expressed hate for my political opponents,” Walsh wrote in the New York Times op-ed. “There’s no place in our politics for personal attacks like that, and I regret making them.”
Walsh also blasted Trump’s domestic and economic policies, excoriating Trump in the op-ed for having “increased the deficit more than $100 billion” and waging a “narcissistic” trade war against China.
In the op-ed, Walsh calls for a Republican candidate to challenge Trump in the party’s 2020 primary election. Walsh notes that former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is already waging a primary campaign to unseat Trump, but Weld, Walsh says, is attacking Trump from the center. Trump “is more vulnerable to a challenge from the right,” Walsh wrote.
Walsh in his New York Times essay also condemns Trump as “no patriot” and “un-American” due to his “war with our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as he embraces tyrants abroad and embarrasses our allies.”
Walsh was widely praised on Twitter for his apology, though largely, it appeared from Twitter users and commentators on the liberal end of the political spectrum, as HuffPost reported.
“Hardly ever see eye to eye with you,” wrote one Twitter pundit. “But I have to say you are absolutely the only commentator with the b***s to apologize.” The Twitter user, Max Burbank, added that Walsh has his respect as a result of the apology.