Joe Walsh, the former Illinois Republican congressman who launched a beyond-quixotic bid to take on President Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries, called off the effort on Friday, lamenting that his party had become a “cult” — and raising the question of why he needed to launch a primary campaign to figure that out.
Walsh garnered just one percent of the vote in Monday’s Republican Iowa caucus, which, unlike the one on the Democratic side, produced a decisive winner.
Walsh told CNN that Trump “literally is the greatest threat to this country right now. Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House. ”
He added on Twitter that “our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started. I’m committed to doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November.”
During the early to mid-2010s, Walsh, who served one term in the House and has hosted a conservative talk-radio show, made a name for himself as a provocative, conspiracy-friendly critic of President Obama. In the run-up to the 2016 election, he threatened armed insurrection if Trump lost. More recently, as Walsh soured on the president — finding common cause with liberals — he renounced his birther past.
Walsh’s exit means that President Trump, who currently enjoys over 90 percent approval in his own party, now faces just one rival for the Republican nomination: Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who managed to snag a single delegate away from Trump in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night. Trump can rest easy as he watches Democrats conduct their smooth, drama-free process to select a candidate who will take him on in November.