MSNBC Anchor Grills Joe Walsh on Past Ugly Rhetoric: People See You as ‘The Original Trump Before Trump’

MSNBC anchor Kendis Gibson spoke with newly-announced Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh this afternoon and grilled him over the Trump-like rhetoric he’s engaged in over the years.

Walsh is mounting a long-shot primary challenge to President Donald Trump, despite having once adamantly supported the president, saying that the Helsinki summit when Trump sided with Putin was a tipping point.

But he’s also engaged in ugly rhetoric himself, and Gibson walked through a number of examples, starting with Walsh’s infamous pre-2016 election tweet that if Trump loses, “I’m grabbing my musket.”

Walsh said his support for Trump was about the fact “he wasn’t Hillary” and he figured Trump was just a “goof.”

“You could have quietly voted for him,” Gibson said. “That sounds like supporting.”

“I had a conservative talk radio show. I can’t be quiet about anything. He wasn’t anything,” Walsh said. “I tried to do the whole good Trump/bad Trump thing. I’d praise him when he did something I liked. I would criticize him when he did something when I didn’t. It became clear to me that the man basically lies every every time he opens his mouth.”

Gibson took note of Walsh saying Trump lost him after Helsinki, remarking he stayed with Trump even after Charlottesville.

“I think he was so damn inarticulate he botched those comments at Charlottesville,” Walsh said. “I’m not going to hide from you. I think the guy stokes bigotry. I think he stokes racism. But I think it’s all about Trump. I don’t think he’s a racist. It’s just all whatever benefits Donald Trump, that’s all I care about.”

“He’s the same Donald Trump, are you a different Joe Walsh?” Gibson asked.

Walsh acknowledged “you’re right, in a way,” acknowledging “ugly and hateful” things he said.

Gibson pointed to how Walsh called Obama a Muslim and doubled down recently and how he’s “sent out tweets that that have insulted average Americans” and how he “apologized for using the n-word on Twitter” and even said many people “feel as if you were the original birther… you were the original Trump before Trump.”

Walsh said he’s heard that, though he quibbled a bit and said, “I went after Obama in some ugly ways but never ever got into birtherism.”

For the record, we should note this 2015 tweet from Walsh:

You can watch the full interview above, via MSNBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac