Never Trump Republican writer and pundit Bill Kristol is pushing former Republican Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh to run against President Donald Trump in 2020, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Kristol believes Walsh, a Tea Party conservative who supported Trump in 2016, can appeal to reluctant GOP voters who might be open to another option. Walsh, who says he is now a die-hard opponent of the president, has a long history on Twitter of questioning former President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
“He lost me for good in Helsinki, when he stood in front of the world and said, ‘I believe Putin and I don’t believe my fellow Americans,’” Walsh said of the president’s July press conference in Helsinki, Finland, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump said at the time that he did not “see any reason why” Russia would intervene in the U.S. 2016 election.
Kristol, the former editor of the now defunct magazine The Weekly Standard, has been a so-called Never Trump Republican since Trump was elected and has worked ever sinceto find candidates to run against the president. He pushed Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to take on Trump before the Republican dropped the idea in June.
Walsh, who told the NYT that Trump is a “racial arsonist,” posted several tweets throughout the past five years railing against former President Barack Obama. He posted a tweet in February 2016 in which he called the former president a Muslim. Walsh posted several tweets along those lines.
“For better or worse, I’m not afraid to say it publicly. I think Obama is Muslim. I think in his head and in his heart he has always been,” the former Illinois congressman told his Twitter followers in a December 2016 post. “Walsh has apologized for those deplorable comments, and I’m glad he has,” Kristol told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Republican supporters of Trump, meanwhile, say Walsh doesn’t stand a chance. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s re-election campaign, told reporters that Walsh’s venture would end in “certain failure.” (RELATED: Gov Larry Hogan Bails On Possible POTUS Run, Leaving Trump’s GOP Critics With Few Options)
Trump’s approval rating among Republicans hovers between 80 and 85 percent, recent polls show. Walsh has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.