Joe Walsh set to challenge Trump in Republican primary race: Reports

Joe Walsh during his time as a congressman, 2012. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told Politico Wednesday that he's confident he can secure the resources to challenge President Trump for the Republican Party's nomination. His comments came hours after the New York Times and Washington Post reported that Walsh was expected to announce his candidacy.

Why it matters: The Tea Party conservative would join former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld in challenging Trump for the Republican Party nomination. Politico reported that sources close to Walsh told the news outlet he was privately confirming he would announce his presidential bid this weekend. The NYT also reports that Walsh is set to enter the race as early as this weekend.

The big picture: Trump could still face other conservative challengers, according to the WashPost, which reports that former South Carolina congressman and Gov. Mark Sanford, former Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich are considering entering the presidential race.

  • Walsh appears to have laid the groundwork for a run at the presidency in a NY Times Op-Ed last week where he stated the case for a contender from the right to challenge Trump. In the op-ed, Walsh said he gave Trump "a fair hearing" after voting for him in 2016, but he realized soon after he became president that he couldn’t support him.
"The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects. In this, he inspires imitators."
— Joe Walsh NYT op-ed excerpt

Between the lines: The NYT notes that Trump's approval rating with Republican voters is consistently in the high 80s and that the president's political aides have been aggressively moving to tighten their grip on state parties to ward off primary challenges. But the news outlet reports that those encouraging Walsh hope he can appeal to reluctant Trump voters who are open to an alternative.

Additional Stories

The normalization of impeachment

Data: Sources, compiled with the help of the House Historian's Office: “A Petition for Presidential Impeachment”; “The House Impeaches Andrew Johnson”; “Origins and Development of the House: Impeachment”; Hinds Precedents, Volume 3; The Age of Impeachment; Congress.gov; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

If the House votes next week to impeach President Trump, some lawmakers warn that impeaching presidents could become the new normal. Historians and constitutional experts say it won't go that far — but they do concede a drift in that direction.

Why it matters: If impeachment loses its taboo to become just another partisan instrument with implications for elections and fundraising, that would weaken its power as an emergency mechanism and further polarize Republicans and Democrats.

  • This is what's happened to government shutdowns, Supreme Court fights and filibusters.

Corporate America is pressured to boost paid parental leave

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As legislation moves forward to give 12 weeks of paid parental leave to civilian federal workers, corporate America is feeling pressure to follow suit — or at least offer sweeter policies.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn't mandate paid leave for new parents. While there are federal rules about unpaid leave, most companies set their own rules, with an eye toward their bottom lines.

U.K. election: Boris Johnson's big win means Brexit is coming

Johnson on the campaign trail. Photo: Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson exceeded all expectations in Thursday's U.K. general election, and his landslide victory makes the U.K. all but certain to exit the European Union early next year.

Driving the news: With 649 out of 650 constituencies reporting, the Conservatives won 364 seats, securing the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory. It's an utter disaster for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has announced he will step down after a "period of reflection."

South Carolina is the next battleground for Medicaid work requirements

President Trump and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration is losing the legal battle over Medicaid work requirements — one of its most impactful and controversial health care policies — but it is leaning into that fight even more aggressively.

Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally signed off yesterday on South Carolina's work requirements. Medicaid recipients in the state will have to perform 80 hours per month of work or community service, unless they receive an exemption.

Robocallers face fight on many fronts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Federal regulators, lawmakers, and private companies haven't found any one tool that on its own can stem the flood of robocalls, so they are trying several approaches at once.

The big picture: There were a record 5.7 billion robocalls in October, according to YouMail, and the Federal Communications Commission has singled out the issue as its top consumer complaint.

House Judiciary pushes impeachment vote to Friday after marathon hearing

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (center) and ranking member Doug Collins (right) during a committee markup hearing on articles of impeachment against President Trump. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images

After a grueling 14-plus-hour day debating the two articles of impeachment against President Trump with no meaningful outcome, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler abruptly called a recess at 11:12 p.m. ET Thursday.

What's next: Members of the committee, their staffs and congressional reporters will return to the Hill at 10 a.m. Friday for a final committee vote to determine whether Trump abused his power and obstructed congressional authority.

India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive

Demonstrators and security personnel Dec. 12 in Guwahati. Photo: Biju Boro/AFP via Getty

India's parliament passed a bill this week that would link citizenship to religion for the first time in the country's history.

Why it matters: This is the latest in a series of steps by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could "fuel the sentiment that Muslims are a kind of permanent underclass," says Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment. "The damage that could do to the social fabric is potentially enormous."

U.S. and China reach "phase one" trade deal to avert December tariffs

Photo: Artyom Ivanov/TASS via Getty Images

The U.S. and China agreed to a "phase one" trade deal on Friday, which President Trump touted in a series of tweets.

The state of play: The deal averts a new round of tariffs scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15, and a Chinese official said that the U.S. would reduce its tariffs on Chinese goods in stages, per Bloomberg. The deal includes an agreement from China to increase imports from the U.S. and purchase agricultural goods.

Read more at Axios
© Copyright Axios 2019