Appearing this morning on the Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.,” former Rep. Joe Walsh (shown above right) — a Republican who wants to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 — said to host Stuart Varney (above left), “I think this president, Stuart, is an unfit conman. I think he’s unfit to be president. I think he’s a real danger to this country. I think he’s a child, Stuart, and I think America is strong enough that they can handle his four-year tantrum.”
From those opening salvos, the interview was and remained a red-hot dispute for its duration.
Varney would not allow Walsh to get away with lazy, inaccurate and irresponsible statements. Walsh, 57, a talk radio host, served one term in the House representing the state of Illinois’s 8th congressional district. He’s now trying to unseat Trump.
Varney is the first Fox host to invite Walsh on since his coming out against Trump, Mediaite pointed out.
“You have no credibility, Joe,” Varney said to Walsh. “You have no credibility for saying something like that, bearing in mind all of the things that you’ve said in the past. Now maybe you can say you don’t need credibility — but you’re just going right there, insulting our president, on top of a whole series of insults. I have to believe you just want the publicity. That’s it, isn’t it?” Varney challenged him.
Said Walsh, “Let me know when you’re ready for an answer to your question … I’m running against this president because I believe he lies virtually every time he opens his mouth. You know that, too.”
“No, I do not,” replied Varney. “I do not know that,” he added, as the two talked over each for a few seconds and the screen went black momentarily. “Don’t impute — do not impute that to me. Joe Walsh. Don’t do it.”
Walsh then said, “Stuart, why do you have me on?”
“You’re on the program because I’ve got questions that I want to ask … And you know it’s nonsense. And don’t try to bring me into your phony arguments.”
Walsh replied after a few seconds of crosstalk, “Let’s get back to where we started, my friend. You asked me why I would do something as monumental as this. You can disagree with why I’m doing it, my friend, but I’m doing it because I believe he’s unfit and he’s a danger to this country. I would not take on a task like this, Stuart, because admittedly it’s a difficult thing to do unless I felt that strongly about it. That’s all.”
Varney pressed him: “Now explain yourself. Explain yourself. You say he’s unfit to be the president of the United States, [that] ‘Trump is an unfit con man who doesn’t care about anything but himself.’ Explain it. What are you talking about?”
“Let me explain and then you can jump in and disagree,” responded Walsh. “I do believe we’ve never had a situation like this where we have a president who we fundamentally can’t believe. I do believe he lies virtually every time he opens his mouth.”
“Give me an example,” Varney pressed.
“I believe, Stuart — I’ll give you an example just from yesterday, and even his staff, Stuart, admitted that he lied this week when he said there were high-level phone calls between the United States and China. Trump said that repeatedly. His staff came out yesterday and admitted that the president of the United States lied to the world —”
“No, they didn’t,” said Varney.
Walsh continued, “—To manipulate the markets. I have a problem with that.”
Said Varney, “That’s not a lie. Let’s not get technical with it. That’s not a lie … If the man says — and he did — that high-level talks had been held with China, that is not a lie. They were held with China.”
“Stuart, he said there were high-level phone calls with Chinese officials. His staff admitted that was not true, that he lied in order to manipulate the market. Period.”
“OK, give me another one,” replied Varney. “That [one] doesn’t work … And I really object to you saying to me, ‘And you know it is, Stuart.’ I do not know it is and please don’t bring me into your nonsense.”
“Stuart,” said Walsh at that point, “do you believe this president lies?”
“You don’t believe he’s ever lied?”
“He exaggerates and spins,” said Varney.
“OK,” said Walsh, still digging. “Do you believe he’s every told the American people a lie?”
“No,” replied Varney definitively.
“You say that the president is bigoted,” Varney said to Walsh. “You, sir, are bigoted,.”
“OK,” said Walsh after a pause. “I do — and I think that’s a problem. And that’s fine, Stuart. You and I have been disagreeing.”
“You lie,” pointed out Varney. “Didn’t you say that Obama was a Muslim? Is that a lie?”
“Yes,” Walsh acknowledged. “And I – yes, and I apologize for that, Stuart. I apologize for that. And also, Stuart, I apologize for helping to create the environment that put such a cruel, bigoted, unfit conman in the White House. I feel sort of responsible for this. I do.”
“Wait a minute,” said Varney. “You say that the president is bigoted. You, sir, are bigoted. Listen to this. [In] June 2016, you said, ‘No more Muslims in the U.S. They want us dead. They seek to kill us. Islam is a doctrine of hate,’ etc. … That’s bigotry any way you slice it. You said,” added Varney, “[that] the ‘single greatest act of racism in American history was the election of Barack Obama. People voted for him simply because he’s black.’ Bigotry, Joe, and you know it. You know it, right?”
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