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Tea Party Republican and former Rep. Joe Walsh mulling primary challenge against President Trump
Tom Williams/Roll Call

Tea Party Republican and former Rep. Joe Walsh mulling primary challenge against President Trump

Walsh went from being a fervent Trump supporter to an outspoken critic of the president

Tea Party Republican and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is considering a primary challenge against President Donald Trump, and the now-talk radio host says if he does announce a run, "it's going to be before Labor Day."

What are the details?

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Walsh "is expected to announce he is running for president as early as this weekend." He told The Times, "If I do it, it's going to be before Labor Day."

Walsh went from passionately supporting President Trump's candidacy in 2016 to regularly — and adamantly — speaking out against the president and calling him "unfit" for the office. The former congressman from Illinois told WTTW-TV this week that the turning point for him came when President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018.

"He lost me for sure, for good, at Helsinki," Walsh told the outlet. "When he stood in front of the world last summer and said 'I believe that guy, Putin, and not my own people,' that was disloyal, that was un-American, and, again, no Republican should support that."

Chicago Tonight full episode: Aug. 19, 2019www.youtube.com

Since the Helsinki meeting, Walsh has ramped up his public rebukes of the president, and penned an op-ed for The New York Times last week wherein he argued that "Trump needs a primary challenge."

But Walsh has a tough row to hoe in presenting any significant threat to President Trump according to the current political landscape, where the president enjoys strong polling numbers from Republican voters and the "undivided" support of the Republican National Committee.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, when asked by The Times for his reaction to Walsh's potential candidacy, replied: "Certain failure."

Anything else?

So far, one Republican is formally challenging President Trump in the primary. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld threw his hat in the ring earlier this year, after running as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in the 2016 election.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has also voiced his interest in launching a bid against President Trump. He announced in July that he would make his decision this month.

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