Former Rep. Joe Walsh claimed that he is not a racist, but just “said racist things on Twitter” during an interview on MSNBC’s Deadline on Monday.
MSNBC’s John Heilemann was pressing Joe Walsh on his long history of conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama’s religious faith and his past history of tweeting the n-word.
“Yeah, and I wouldn’t call myself a racist but I would say, John, I’ve said racist things on Twitter. There’s no doubt about it,” Walsh told Heilemann.
“And an apology is not enough. When I said Barack Obama was a Muslim, that was a horrible thing to say. And I said it because I was so disgusted with Obama’s policy towards Israel, that I went a bad, ugly step. The Sandy Hook moms, I took a cheap shot against them three years ago because they were suing gun manufacturers, an issue I disagree with. So I took a bad, cheap shot against them.”
“I’ve done that,” he continued, “But, John, again, context, I probably sent out 40,000 Tweets in the last six years, no excuse, you and I could sit down and find 200 to 300 you would say Walsh, what were you thinking? And all I can do is own them and explain them and apologize as sincerely as I can for those that deserve an apology.”
Heilemann followed up, “I’ll just add that you got a lot of work to do on trying to make a distinction between, somehow convincing people, ‘I’m not a racist, but I’ve said a lot of racist stuff in public.'”
“Well, but again, that’s not fair because we have a short show,” Walsh responded, continuing, “You said I said the n-word in a tweet. I did, and I did to make a point. Because, they wanted to change the name of the Washington Redskins, so they said ‘Redskins was the new n-word.’ That’s BS. The ‘Redskins’ doesn’t equate with the n-word. The n-word has a unique, ugly history. To make that point, I wrote down the n-word in a tweet. To make the point that it’s not nearly what the word ‘Redskins’ is.”
“But, you get that in combination with calling the president Muslim, saying that he was born in Kenya, et cetera, et cetera, that this paints a little bit of a picture here that makes people doubt, again, your moral standing to take on someone’s who’s primary, or at least one of his primary moral failings is his racism.” (RELATED: NBC’s John Heilemann Slips Up Big Time And Admits He’s A Democrat)
“…John, maybe you and I disagree with this, and I never did get into the birther stuff. I said Obama is a Muslim, I’ll get down on my knees, because I think that was a horrible thing to say. I don’t think Trump’s a racist. All Trump cares about is himself. I mean, he’ll throw out racist stuff, bigoted stuff. If you help him, that’s all he cares about. I don’t know that Trump’s a racist…”
Host Nicolle Wallace then pushed back on Walsh, asked why he didn’t think Trump was racist.
Walsh immediately flipped, saying, “Well then, he’s a racist, he’s a bigot, he’s a xenophobe, he’s everything, Nicolle, because he will use everything to just simply advance his interests.”
Walsh, who once voiced strong support for Trump, flipped on the president in 2018 and tried to re-brand himself as an anti-Trump conservative. He kicked off his candidacy for the Republican nomination last week, and so far, hasn’t found much support outside of a few Republicans who dislike Trump.
White House aide Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway voiced support for Walsh, who said that voting for him could “trigger” Trump.
When the Trump campaign was asked about Walsh’s candidacy, they responded simply, “Whatever.”