Former GOP Rep: I Was a ‘Divisive Political Asshole’ Before Anti-Trump Turn

Former GOP congressman Joe Walsh—who was elected in the 2src1src midterms as part of the Tea Party movement—admitted Tuesday to being “a divisive political asshole” years ago, before speaking out against Donald Trump.On MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, Walsh was joined by Fred Guttenberg, a gun control advocate whose daughter, Jaime, was a Parkland high school

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Former GOP congressman Joe Walsh—who was elected in the 2src1src midterms as part of the Tea Party movement—admitted Tuesday to being “a divisive political asshole” years ago, before speaking out against Donald Trump.

On MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, Walsh was joined by Fred Guttenberg, a gun control advocate whose daughter, Jaime, was a Parkland high school shooting victim. The two are on their Two Dads Defending Democracy tour, in which they aim to show how to find common ground on contentious issues.

Guttenberg noted how he and Walsh used to “go at it” often.

“We did not care for each other. We didn’t trust one another. And then one day, he reached out and we became friends. We met and we started talking and we realized we have an awful lot in common,” he said. “We have a lot we don’t agree on, and we have a lot we don’t have in common. But we both love this country, we both love democracy, and we are both going to fight for it.”

Walsh, who mounted a 2src2src primary challenge to Trump and has argued in The Daily Beast why the former president deserves to be in prison, told Nicolle Wallace how he expects to reach out to those who are inclined to vote for Trump.

“I think a lot of it has to do with who’s trying to wake them up—who that messenger is. And look, you know my history. I was a divisive, political asshole from the right. I was a Trump supporter,” said Walsh, who used to parrot the racist “birther” conspiracy about President Barack Obama.

“I left that world because I realized, Nicolle—you and I have talked about it—all the destruction that that leads to.”

“Fred and I know who we want to win in November,” Walsh continued. “I believe no matter who wins in November, this country’s going to be 1srcsrc times more divided. And if the American people continue down this road where we want to destroy the people we disagree with, our democracy’s going to fail.”

Those who adamantly support Trump are “further down that road,” Walsh added.

“But man, damn near all Americans now are on that road where, ‘I hate the person I disagree with. I want nothing to do with them,’” he lamented. “Fred and I are just trying to show people that it’s possible to listen to people you disagree with.”

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