(NBC CHIGAGO) — Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announced Friday that he’s suspending his campaign against President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.
“I’m suspending my campaign, but our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started,” Walsh tweeted Friday morning. “I’m committed to doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November.”
Walsh, a conservative firebrand who hosted a radio show before entering the race for president, had announced his long-shot campaign in August.
“We’ve got a guy in the White House who is unfit, completely unfit to be president. And it stuns me that nobody stepped up. Nobody in the Republican Party has stepped up,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
“The country is sick of this guy’s tantrums. He’s a child,” he added.
Walsh was elected to represent Illinois’ 8th Congressional District in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and served one term before he was defeated in the newly-drawn 8th District by now-Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Initially a Trump supporter, Walsh – who has a history of making controversial comments – tweeted in October 2016, “if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket.” But he has since soured on Trump, repeatedly calling him “unfit to be president” and “dangerous,” among other things.
In announcing his campaign last year, Walsh said he would try to challenge the president on “moral” grounds.
“We’ve never had a situation like this. You can’t believe a word he says. He’s nuts, he’s erratic, he’s cruel, (and) he stokes bigotry,” Walsh said.
This was not the first time Walsh has threatened to challenge a GOP incumbent. In October 2017, Walsh tweeted that he was “done” with then-Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner should Rauner sign legislation to prevent law enforcement from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status.
After Rauner signed a so-called “sanctuary state” bill, Walsh floated the idea of running against him in the Republican primary or afterwards as an Independent – though he ultimately did neither.
Walsh posed little threat to Trump, whose approval rating among Republicans stands at around 90 percent, per a January Hill-HarrisX poll, and who NPR reports has a roughly $102 million political war chest.