A second person has mounted a challenge to US President Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
Joe Walsh, a former congressman for the state of Illinois and radio talk show host, announced his bid on Sunday, saying the incumbent president of the United States was unfit for office and must be denied a second term.
“He’s nuts. He’s erratic. He’s cruel. He stokes bigotry. He’s incompetent. He doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Walsh told national television ABC’s This Week.
The 57-year-old portrayed himself as a legitimate alternative in a party where he said many are opposed to Trump but are “scared to death” of saying so publicly.
“He’s a bully and he’s a coward and somebody needs to call him out,” Walsh said.
“The bet … of my campaign is that there are a lot of Republicans that feel like I do. They’re afraid to come forward.”
Asked to respond to Walsh’s criticism of the president and decision to run, a spokesman for Trump replied: “Whatever.”
The Republican National Committee, which is responsible for overseeing party processes such as primaries, dismissed Walsh’s announcement.
The party has already combined operations with Trump’s re-election campaign, including holding joint events.
“President Trump enjoys unprecedented support among Republicans. He has already delivered a long list of incredible accomplishments for conservatives and the country. Republicans are firmly behind the president and any effort to challenge him in a primary is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” said Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Walsh won a House of Representatives seat from Illinois as a candidate of the Republican Party’s fiscally-conservative Tea Party movement in 2010, but he was defeated by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in his 2012 reelection bid.
After leaving Congress, he became a radio talk show host in the city of Chicago.
Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, had been the only Republican trying to unseat Trump.
Weld, appearing Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, welcomed Walsh’s candidacy.
“I think that is terrific,” he said. “It’s going to be a more robust conversation.”
So far, neither Walsh nor Weld is given much chance of wresting the nomination from the incumbent.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on August 19 and 20 showed that 87 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance in office.
The RealClearPolitics website shows Trump with an overwhelming poll lead of 72 points over Weld.