Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, waging a long-shot war to unseat President Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s 2020 presidential nominee, has labeled Trump’s immigration policies “absolute incompetence.”
“Trump’s a one-trick pony about the border,” Walsh, who is now a radio talk show host, told the Washington Examiner.
“All he talked about was the wall, the wall, the wall, and Mexico’s going to pay for it.
“There was no nimbleness beyond the wall,” he said.
“The situation at our border now is a bigger mess than when [Trump] got elected,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he would stop separating children who cross with the families from their parents, and focus more resources of adjudicating asylum claims.
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) August 28, 2019
“It’s our responsibility to hear those claims,” he said.
Walsh said that “border hawks,” a group he said incudes himself, have been damaged by Trump’s approach to the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the porous U.S.-Mexico border.
“So many of the things that I believe in, Donald Trump has taken to dark, ugly places,” Walsh told the Examiner.
“Trump’s taken that whole issue of the border and he’s turned it into a kind of, ugly, bigoted, ‘go back to where you came from’ kind of a thing. So, I’m a conservative, and if there’s one area that I’ve changed on in the past couple of years, and it’s because of Trump, I’ve changed my tone,” he said.
Walsh made it clear that attacking Trump will be a staple of his campaign.
“I think it’s important that Donald Trump is getting pounded every day,” Walsh said.
“This campaign is a referendum on him and his fitness.”
Walsh joined former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld in the Republican field. Weld announced his candidacy in April.
When Walsh announced his campaign Aug. 25, the Trump campaign had one word in reply: “Whatever.”
Walsh, 57, served one term in Congress from January 2011 to January 2013. Redistricting eliminated the district from which he was elected, and he lost in a new district in the 2012 election.
Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant who is the Republican Party chairman in Travis County, Texas, called Walsh “a legend in his own mind,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“He served in Congress for one term. His radio show is failing,” Mackowiak said.
“It will be the height of irony to see ‘Never Trumpers’, who have talked incessantly about the importance of character, support Joe Walsh over President Trump in a Republican primary. As the Trump campaign said, Walsh’s candidacy will meet ‘certain failure,’” he said.
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