Who is Joe Walsh?
Current job: Conservative talk radio host.
Family: Walsh has been married twice. He is currently married to Helene Walsh, who served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2018 to 2019. Walsh has three children and two step-children.
Hometown: North Barrington, Illinois
Political party: Republican
Previous jobs: Congressman, history teacher, political consultant.
Could Joe Walsh win the Republican nomination?
Walsh is running against President Donald Trump and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld for the Republican nomination for president.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the reality is that Walsh is probably not going to be the Republican nominee for the presidency in 2020. As leader of the Republican Party a candidate like Trump has considerable home-field advantage when it comes to orchestrating the primary process, and the presidency offers unparalleled awareness numbers that Walsh and his rival Weld will not share.
Nevertheless, Trump would be remiss to simply dismiss this duo of competitors out of hand. Insider conducted a national SurveyMonkey Audience poll in late April that asked Republicans “What best describes your view about the prospects for a Republican primary in 2020?“
Among respondents who identified as at least slightly conservative, 13% said, “I would absolutely support a qualified candidate who challenged President Trump in the Republican primary,” 11% said, “I would probably support a qualified Republican candidate who challenged President Trump in the primary,” and 18% said, “I support the president, however I am open to other qualified Republican primary challengers.”
Potentially, Walsh or Weld could tap into that 42%. More likely, neither will be able to leverage that into a winning constituency.
What are Joe Walsh’s policy positions?
- Walsh is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” and supports repealing the law in favour of a free market system.
- In 2013, Walsh suggested breaking the law and to “engage in civil disobedience” to defy Obamacare in Chicago.
- While in Congress, Walsh supported several bills that aimed to either repeal Obamacare in its entirety or to strip key aspects of the law.
- After he was sworn in, Walsh said he would not accept congressional healthcare benefits because it went against his opposition to government-sponsored healthcare.
Back in 2010, Walsh opposed government-sponsored health insurance in a Chicago Tribune questionnaire.
- “I am opposed to a government sponsored health care system. We need only look to the health care systems in Canada or Great Britain to see evidence of this. I support Republican proposals such as allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines, tort reform, and Medical Savings Accounts to reduce costs. Allowing competition across state lines and eliminating these costly mandates will reduce costs for most people,” Walsh wrote.
- Walsh has long said that immigration is a key issue that he and his listeners care about.
- Speaking to PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff in August, Walsh said he would end the Trump administration policy of separating migrant children from their families at the southern border.
- Walsh also said he would be “tougher” on people who try to illegally enter the US, but added that he would allocate more resources toward dealing with asylum cases because those represent legal border crossings. “It’s our responsibility to hear those claims,” he said.
On climate change:
- Walsh previously said the science behind climate change is “not definitive” and that the US’s economic interests should precede any discussion on combatting climate change.
- But last month, Walsh criticised Trump for skipping a key G7 meeting about addressing climate change. Walsh told Woodruff he believes human activity impacts climate change.
- He also criticised the Republican Party for its relative lack of action on the matter, telling Woodruff, “The Republican Party has to acknowledge it’s a problem. This president won’t.”
On campaign finance/election reform:
- Walsh has not spoken publicly about his views on campaign finance and election reform.
- When he first ran for Congress in 1996, Walsh campaigned on a more liberal platform and said he was in favour of abortion rights.
- But in 2010, when he ran for a congressional seat as part of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement, Walsh came out firmly against abortion.
- In October 2012, Walsh ignited controversy when he said abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of the mother and therefore, such an exception should not exist in abortion laws.
On LGBTQ rights:
- Walsh said he is a strong supporter of “traditional marriage” and believes “a marriage can only exist between one man and one woman.”
- While he was in Congress, Walsh voted to prevent federal funds from being used in ways that would counteract the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA).
- Walsh has called LGBTQ activists “constitutional terrorists” and once said that a “transgender ‘man’ is a woman.”
- He also said Christian vendors should be allowed to turn away LGBTQ customers.
- Walsh opposes Trump’s ban on transgender troops in the military.
- Walsh’s congressional campaign website said he advocated for “market-based solutions to education reform and urban poverty.”
- He also ran the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, a privately-funded program in Chicago that gave scholarships to low-income students to help them attend private high schools.
- He’s also raised money for the American Education Reform Council and the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation, both of which advocate for school choice.
- Walsh is staunchly opposed to Common Core.
- When he ran for Congress in 1996, Walsh said he was in favour of gun control. But when he ran as a Republican in 2010, Walsh came out in strong support of the Second Amendment.
- He co-sponsored the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which would have loosened restrictions on interstate gun purchases.
- In 2018, Walsh said on Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy show, “Who Is America?” that he supported a program that would arm children from ages 4 to 12. He later denied he said that, but video footage showed Walsh repeatedly endorsed the program.
- Walsh supports arming school employees to prevent school shootings, and ending gun-free zones in schools and military bases.
- The former Illinois congressman lauded gun rights at Business Insider’s Republican debate in September. “I’m a big gun guy. I believe in the Second Amendment, plain and simple. There’s no silver bullet to this issue.”
On criminal justice reform:
- Walsh said he supports reforming the criminal justice system but has not detailed any specifics on how he would do it.
- Walsh supports a free trade system and came out strongly against Trump’s trade war with China and his decision to raise tariffs.
- Walsh has also said Trump is “clueless” on trade.
At Business Insider’s Republican debate, Walsh blasted Trump’s trade war and tariffs on China as damaging to the American economy. “The uncertainty, the hour-by-hour ‘where is this president going?’ has everybody in the business community on edge. They’re not investing, they’re not hiring. This is where your slowdown is coming from.”
- He also vowed to undo the tariffs if he were elected.
On foreign policy:
- Walsh holds strong pro-Israel views. He opposes a “two-state solution” and called the idea “insanity.”
- He’s advocated for Israel to annex Palestinian territory and for Palestinians to have “limited voting power” in the Jewish state.
- Walsh also once said that American Jews tend to skew liberal and side with Palestine instead of Israel.
- Walsh has endorsed far-right leaders around the globe, including France’s Marine Le Pen, who is notorious for her Islamophobic views.
- He’s also a strong supporter of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, whom he once referred to as being “kind of like a Tea Party free market guy in India, which I found very appealing.”
- Walsh has harshly criticised Trump for being deferential to Russia and not holding the country accountable for interfering in the 2016 US election. He also frequently spoke out in support of the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
- Walsh is in favour of extending the Bush era tax cuts and abolishing the estate tax.
- He also favours cutting the capital gains tax and the corporate tax rate.
On jobs and the economy:
- Walsh said while he was in Congress that the reluctance of small businesses to hire and an uncertainty on tax policy was what led to joblessness.
- He’s sharply criticised the Occupy movement – which was prominent in 2011 and 2012 – as being made up of “generally spoiled, pampered, unfocused, clueless young people and a smattering of other people who don’t understand this country and are advocating anti-American solutions.”
- Walsh also said that anyone who would “advocate socialist solutions to certain problems in this country … they don’t understand this country.”
What are Joe Walsh’s political successes?
- Walsh won a congressional seat in 2010 after an uphill battle facing off against a six-person Republican primary field.
- He’s garnered strong support from younger Republicans because of his opposition to the Republican establishment.
How much money has Joe Walsh raised?
Walsh announced his primary challenge against Trump late last month, so there isn’t enough publicly available information on his fundraising. This page will be updated when his campaign releases its numbers for this quarter.
Could Walsh beat the Democratic nominee?
A situation in which Walsh bests sitting president Trump in the primary would doubtless reveal a political talent heretofore invisible in the former congressman. Were he to pull that off, a Democratic contender would certainly have cause for concern. Still, this possibility is fairly remote.
Read more of our stories on Joe Walsh:
- Trump will likely survive his primary challenge from Joe Walsh – but history suggests that it could hurt him in the general election
- Joe Walsh wants to beat Trump and save the Republican party. But he still defends calling Haiti a ‘s—hole country.’
- Joe Walsh reportedly wants to troll Trump by recruiting George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, to work on his 2020 campaign
- Tea Party firebrand and former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh announces he’s running against Trump in the 2020 Republican primary
- Business Insider is interested in hearing from voters who are following the 2020 Republican primary about questons they have for candidates. Click here to sign up.”
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