Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said Wednesday that former Rep. Joe Walsh – who last week joined Weld in launching an extreme longshot GOP primary challenge against President Trump – is almost as “vulgar” as the man he wants to unseat.
But he’s not judging him, he says, for those past incendiary comments.
“I’m far from going to tell Congressman Walsh that he can’t run because he’s almost as vulgar as Donald Trump,” Weld said in an interview with Fox News as he campaigned in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.
Walsh, who won election to the House of Representatives in 2010 during the Tea Party wave, has hosted a conservative radio talk show since losing re-election in 2012. Since announcing his candidacy in recent days, Walsh, from Illinois, has been trying to distance himself from controversial statements he’s made on his radio program and on Twitter. This includes falsely calling former President Barack Obama a secret Muslim who “hates Israel” and declaring in 2016 that if Trump were to lose, “I’m grabbing my musket.”
He’s since admitted to using racist language, adding, “I think we’re all a little bit racist. We’ve all said racist things. I bet if you and I went through everybody’s Twitter feeds, we’re going to find things that are objectionable and offensive.”
Asked if he thought Walsh’s past comments should disqualify him from running for the GOP presidential nomination, Weld emphasized that “there’s already someone like [that] in the GOP nomination race and that is the president of the United States.”
Weld said that “from what I understand Rep. Walsh’s opening comments are that the president is a bully and a coward and I think it’s important to have that truth spoken by as many people as possible. Maybe Congressman Walsh would assist in getting the attention of Republicans on the right that this is not a person who in personal terms they should be supporting.”
On Tuesday, Trump mocked his primary challengers as the “Three Stooges.”
“Can you believe it? I’m at 94% approval in the Republican Party, and have Three Stooges running against me,” Trump tweeted.
While the president remains extremely popular among GOP voters, it wasn’t clear what poll he was referencing.
Asked about those comments, Weld told Fox News: “I was happy to have any comment at all from the president. All he previously said is ‘I’m not debating Bill Weld or anybody else.’ So I thought that the message was a rare recognition of reality on the president’s part and I appreciated it.”
With Walsh joining him in a GOP primary and former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford likely to jump into the race next month, Weld was optimistic there would be debates.
“There’s going to be debates because the networks can hardly say ‘we cover only Democrats and not Republicans.’ They’re going to cover those debates,” he explained.
But he said he didn’t expect the incumbent president to join his long-shot challengers on the debate stage.
He added, “I would dare him to join us. He would regret it.”
Trump topped Weld 90-5 percent in a new national poll by USA Today/Suffolk University in the race for the GOP presidential election.
But Weld discounted the survey, arguing that “They’re asking about the people they think are likely to vote in a Republican primary and my job is to broaden that electorate to include unaffiliates who can vote in 20 crossover states … and to make sure that more millennials vote than last time because millennials are being killed by the president’s policies on both the deficit and climate change and they know it.”
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Weld says fellow GOP primary underdog Walsh ‘almost as vulgar’ as Trump, but won’t judge
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