In the days since Joe Walsh announced his challenge to President Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, the former congressman and radio host has been on an apology tour for his own past controversial comments.
“If you go thru my 40,000 tweets, I did a pretty bad or horrible job of offending a lot of people,” Walsh told PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff. “I felt a big part of my job [as a radio host] was to provoke and get people thinking about a number of issues. Oftentimes, I went over the line.”
Walsh, an Illinois Republican who was elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010, has previously fanned the false conspiracy that then-President Obama was a Muslim. He once defended his right to say “blacks are lazy.” Pressed for his views today, Walsh backed away from both comments but advocated for his right to free speech.
“Those aren’t my views. That’s just the way I unfortunately pushed the envelope too often,” Walsh said.
The one-term representative voted for Trump in 2016 and tweeted in the leadup to Election Day that he would grab his musket if Trump lost. He says now that vote was primarily a vote against Hillary Clinton.
“I didn’t love him. I didn’t like him,” Walsh said of Trump. “I thought he was sort of a goof.”
Walsh said his anti-Trump views really solidified “a year or so” later, and he now believes Trump is “unfit” to be president and “lies virtually every time he opens his mouth.”
Other highlights from the interview: