Ex-Tea Party leader Joe Walsh has ended his bid to take the Republican nomination from Donald Trump but he is not done attacking the president. Most recently, he said he would even back an ideological opponent in order to stop Trump from getting a second term.
The former congressman had launched a long-shot attempt to win the Republican nomination for president but announced earlier this month that he would be ending his bid. Walsh said he will not be supporting Trump again, saying he would even vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders despite the fact they occupy different ends of the political spectrum. Walsh was one of the leaders of the so-called “Tea Party” movement, a conservative movement against Barack Obama and what opponents saw as out-of-control spending.
In a Washington Post op-ed published on Tuesday, Walsh wrote that he would “rather have a socialist in the White House than a con man.” He also called on other Republicans who oppose Trump to make the same vow.
“Some of my Republican and ex-Republican brethren have started implying that what never-Trump actually meant was something more like: fingers-crossed-I-really-really-hope-not-Trump-but-I-guess-sometimes-Trump if Democrats wind up nominating a self-described democratic socialist,” he noted. “But that’s not how this works.”
Sanders has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination after wins in the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucus, with polls showing that he is in the lead in several key states for the upcoming Super Tuesday.
Walsh said he can understand the reservation of Republicans to vote for the Vermont senator — who has described himself as a democratic socialist — but said the idea of re-electing the president is too risky right now.
“If it were up to me, Sanders isn’t the guy I’d put in charge,” he opined. “But when I finally came around to saying, ‘never Trump,’ I meant it.”
The former congressman has been a regular critic of Trump, calling him a traitor and accusing him of lying to the American people.
Walsh was especially vocal in his criticism of Trump during his short-lived bid to win the Republican nomination. After the president easily won the Iowa caucus, the former congressman took to Twitter to admit that it would be impossible for him to come out on top in the Republican primary. He then added some harsh words for Trump’s supporters.
“The Republican Party is a cult. Trump is their cultish dear leader,” Walsh wrote. “He can lie, cheat, & break the law. Doesn’t matter. He can do no wrong. But Trump must be stopped. And ALL of us must come together to stop him.”