Joe Walsh, the former Illinois congressman and radio talk host challenging President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, said he is dropping out of the race, suggesting that he plans to vote for a Democrat in November — even if that is Bernie Sanders.
“I would rather have a socialist in the White House than a dictator, than a king, than Donald Trump,” Walsh told CNN’s John Berman on Friday. Watch the video above.
Walsh, elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010, entered the race last summer as one of a handful of “never Trump” Republicans warning of the president’s re-election. Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, briefly was in the race last year, and William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, is still a candidate.
“Donald Trump is a dictator. He is a king,” Walsh said on CNN. “He literally is the greatest threat to this country right now. Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House. That is not an easy thing for me, but that tells you how serious this moment is.”
He said that he planned to spend the next few months talking to Republicans and moderates and independents “to encourage them that your only option is a Democrat. It is not Trump. It is not the cult.”
Walsh garnered just 1.1% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Weld fared only slightly better, with 1.3%, enough to garner one delegate.
In a Washington Post op ed on Thursday, Walsh wrote that his candidacy has “been made even tougher by the party canceling primaries to shield the president from being challenged. And by Fox News, and the rest of Trump’s lapdog conservative media, denying me airtime. But I’ve been on TV, I’ve served in Congress, and I hosted my own talk-radio show. I don’t need the airtime. More than anything else, what’s made this challenge nearly impossible — to a degree that I didn’t fully realize when I first hit the trail — is how brainwashed so many of my fellow Republicans seem to have become. I hate to say it, but the GOP now resembles a cult.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.