Joe Walsh, the Tea Party Republican who said he would be “grabbing my musket” if Hillary Clinton won the presidency, told CNN today that reality show star-turned-president elect Donald Trump is “acting like a third grader” and “almost treasonous” for refusing to accept the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia influenced the election on his behalf.
“For Donald Trump to come out and attack our men and women in the CIA, that’s almost treasonous,” Walsh told Brooke Baldwin. “Russia attacks us and Trump attacks the CIA. He ought to be the one calling for an investigation.”
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“I’m outraged by the lack of outrage,” Walsh said, hammering his own side with his characteristic vocabulary. “A foreign government interfered with our election. That should piss everybody off. It’s like because our guy won, Trump won, we’re going to keep our mouths shut, I mean that’s just so wrong.”
Baldwin noted the irony of Walsh describing the man he had supported in November as a child. When she asked about the looming appointment of Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, to be Secretary of State, Walsh immediately compartmentalized his opinions.
“I separate the issues,” Walsh said. “I don’t have a problem with getting friendly with Russia. I don’t have a problem if Tillerson is friendly with Putin. That’s a policy disagreement. I have a problem with any foreign government trying to pick our president.”
During the interview, Walsh also revealed that Donald Trump has blocked him on Twitter. But he held out hope that the president-elect will see him on television and change his mind.
“He’s got to use this as an opportunity, I think, to bring the country together and lead an investigation,” Walsh said. That outcome is extremely unlikely, for Donald is treating the matter as an attack on his presidency.
But Walsh is not wrong to think that going on television will get Trump’s attention. Kellyanne Conway has explained that she does this on occasion, for example when she appeared on CNN to argue against Mitt Romney as Secretary of State.
A deeper, and perhaps more consequential, question is whether conservatives who once styled themselves as a Tea Party, and made much noise about President Obama supposedly infringing American sovereignty, are able to set aside their love of Donald Trump for the principles they espoused so loudly back then.
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