Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh: 'I'm going to run for president'

Former Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh announces he's running to challenge President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination.
12:42 | 08/25/19

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Transcript for Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh: 'I'm going to run for president'
"I alone can fix it," that signature line from 2016 pretty much sums up president trump's approach to the presidency and this week he pushed it about as far as it can. With a dizzying series of impulsive moves this week, from Greenland, tax cuts on and off the table, back on again, a tax on China and the fed. That sent the stock market into a tailspin and threatened the strong economy that's been his best selling point for re-election and as we come on the air this morning, a new political threat, a potential challenge from one of his own. Conservative firebrand Joe Walsh, a tea party congressman now a talk radio host and no stranger to controversy. Once a stunch defender of president trump, he appeared on CNN this week and said this. If Republicans, John, stay silent in the face of this guy, I don't think the country will ever forgive the Republican party, but forget about the Republican party, if this guy gets four more years we're in real, real trouble. And Joe Walsh joins us now. Good morning. George, good to be was with you. Have you reached a decision? Yes, and it's great to be with you. I'm going to run for president and I'm to be on your show announcing my candidacy. George, no surprise, we got a guy in the white house who's unfit, completely unfit. To be president. And it stuns me that nobody's stepped up, nobody in the Republican party stepped up, because I'll tell you what, George, everybody believes in the Republican party, everybody believes that he's unfit -- he lies every time he opens his mouth. You say that, everybody believes he's unfit. One thing that the president points to often, just about every poll shows 80% support for the president among Republicans. They don't have an alternative. George, look, I'm running because he's unfit, somebody needs to step up and there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy's tantrum, he's a child. Again, the litany, he lies every time he opens his mouth. Look at what's happened this week -- he is the president of the United States, is tweeting us into a recession. I can tell you, George, that most of my former colleagues up on the hill they agree privately with everything I'm saying. Then how do you explain why -- Because they're afraid. Because they're scared to death. Look, George, this isn't easy to do. I just sat down with you and said I'm going run for president. I'm going to challenge this guy. I'm opening up my life to tweets and attacks. Everything I have said, trump will go after and his bullies are going to after it. Are you ready for it? Yes, I'm ready for that. Here's what I think -- most of my former colleagues believe -- they think trump is going to lose in November. They want him to lose in November. And then they think they're done with him and everything can go back to normal. Then they lose the courts, the supreme court, they lose the next vacancy. They want trump gone. They're just afraid to say that he's unfit. Look at this week, if you privately polled every Republican member of congress, the president of the united States ordered private companies to not do business with China. The president of the united States said our fed chair is as big of an enemy as China. Most Republican voters are tired of the drama. They're tired of his bs, George, I believe -- You're on talk radio every day. When you speak like this, what do you hear from your listeners, support, correct? I hear support for the president. It's divot to be a critic of the president in conservative talk radio. And I hear often, George, what you just said at the beginning, I don't like him, I wish he wouldn't tweet, I wish he would keep his mouth quiet, but we're getting some good things done, really what are we getting done? When I point to those people who listen to me on conservative talk radio that we haven't built one foot of a wall, that this president who said I'm going to eliminate the debt eight years has increased the debt at a faster clip than Obama but, George, this is not about issues, I would not be even thinking about primarying this president if I was upset with his position on the debt or the deficit. There's another challenger to president trump as you know from inside the party, William weld. He had a tweet this week where he said this, Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country to the globe an to himself. And this is what got everybody's attention -- #americadeservesbetter. #25thamendment, should the 25th amendment been invoked? It should be looked at. We have never had a situation like this. You can't believe a word he says. Again, I don't care your he's nuts. He's erratic. He's cruel. He stokes bigotry. He's incompetent. He doesn't know what he's doing. George, he's a narcissist. Everything he cares about, the only thing he cares about is trump. He doesn't give a damn about America. He doesn't care about the border. You and I talked before we came on air. He lost me for certain at Helsinki, when the president of the United States stood in front of the world and said, I stand with that guy and not my own people. That's disloyal, that's un-american. His supporters, I think, are tired of this. Our campaign slogan is be brave. This is not a difficult thing for me to do, I'm opening up my life. My bet my campaign is making, I'm going to pound trump every single day, he's a bully and he's a coward, someone has to call him out. I can't believe nobody in our party has called him out. The bet, George, of my campaign, there are a lot of Republicans who feel like I do. They're afraid to come forward. You said you want to make the case against the president. The question is, are you the best messenger? A moral case against the president. Here's what the Washington exam anywhere, conservative newspaper said in response to your potential candidacy this week. There's the matter of his history of being trumpier than trump. He's made a living on peddling the same sort of conspiracy-mongering and right-wing bomb-throwing for which he know condemns the president. What your response? I helped create trump. And George, that's not an easy thing to say. Look, we were divided before trump. I went to Washington eight years ago, part of the tea party class, wanted to shake Washington up. I got involved in the battles and there were plenty of time where I went beyond the policy, and I got personal and I said some ugly things about president Obama that I regret and it's difficult but I think -- I think that helped create trump, and I feel responsible for that. You did provide aid and comfort for the kind of things he said. You mentioned president Obama. You called him Muslim. You often spoke out on racial themes. Want to show a couple of tweets that you had right there. Number one, we lowered the bar for Obama, he was held to a lower standard because he was black, that was just in 2017. A few months after that, not just president Obama, senator kamala Harris said something really dumb. Meh. If you're black and a woman you can say dumb things. Lowered bar. Well, again, the beauty of what president trump has done is, George, he's made me reflect on some of the things I have said in the past. I had strong policy disagreements with Barack Obama and too often I let those policy disagreements get personal. Do you believe he's a Muslim? God, no. I apologized for that. But think about the contrast, George, again, I'm bearing my soul right now on national TV. We have a guy in the white house who's never apologized for anything he's done or said. I think it's a weakness not to apologize. I helped -- I helped create trump. There's no doubt about that. The personal, ugly politics. I regret that and I'm sorry for that. And now we've got a guy in the white house, George, that's all he does. Understand, I walk around with this piece of paper every day, George, it's got all of trump's lies on one side, mostly updated and then everything that he does that's wrong, I feel responsible for this. But I'm a conservative and I think there's a decent chance to present to Republican voters a conservative. What's the conservative case? Set aside the personal differences you have with president trump, what's the conservative case for why president trump should be replaced? He's incompetent. He has no freaking clue what he ran -- he said he was going to build a wall, George, we haven't built a foot of the wall. He said Mexico was going to pay for it, we haven't. He told us trade wars were easy. Tell that to American farmers right now. Tell that to American consumers. President trump said I will eliminate the debt in eight years. He's increased it faster than president Obama. This is on trump. He said I'll eliminate the debt. He hasn't governed as a conservative. He's not competent. He doesn't know what he's doing. George, the bigger case is this -- he's not capable of being decent. He's cruel. He's bigoted and he's a narcissist. Everything is about him. When you talk to your listeners on the radio, in these personal terms about president trump, do they excuse it, say it doesn't matter? They say, but, Joe, the Democrats are socialists. I don't like him, I don't like what he says, I don't like what he does, but the Democrats are socialists. I don't think that's good enough. I'm not doing this to save the Republican party. I'm doing this, George, because I think the country can survive trump's four-year tantrum. But you give this guy another four years in the white house right now, he's George, literally tweeting us into a recession, he'll tweet us into war. But as you know, presidents who face a serious primary challenge, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush from pat Buchanan, it tends to weaken them, they tend to lose. Are you prepared to take responsibility if you do well in this to help elect a Democrat? It doesn't matter. Absolutely. I'm going to do whatever I can. I don't want him to win. The country can't afford to have him win. If I'm not successful, I'm not voting for him. I'd rather get back to place where I'm sitting down next to a Democrat and we're arguing about capitalism and socialism and we're arguing about ideas. Instead, we're talking about a child in the white house who tweets ugly insults at average Americans every day. We're tired of that. I want to get away from that. William weld has been out there for months not making much of an impact. How can you run a real campaign? Where is your money going to come? Where are you going to focus? We're going to focus on Iowa and New Hampshire. "Be brave" is our campaign slogan. I believe there are people out there dying to come out, stick their necks out and say publicly what they believe privately, that this guy is unfit, he's indecent, he's setting a horrible example for millions and millions of American children every day. I think it will catch on like wild fire. If I'm wrong? If I'm wrong, it was the right fight. Because somebody had to do this. Again, George, we have somebody in the white house who's not fit to be president. Everybody knows that. Joe Walsh, thanks for your

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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