By Natalie Allison | October 26, 2019
"Never Trump" Republican presidential challenger Joe Walsh said his party nominee should consider choosing a Democrat as a running mate as a way to unify the country.
Walsh, a former Illinois congressman, said in Nashville that he would consider doing so, but could not yet name a Democrat he would invite to join him on a ticket.
"Post-Trump, it's going to take extraordinary steps to try and unify this country," Walsh said. "Maybe even a Republican presidential nominee and a Democrat vice presidential candidate, along with them."
The three Republicans challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential primary took turns decrying the president's actions Saturday, mostly agreeing on every point discussed despite the event being billed as a "debate."
The trio, whom the president has described as "human scum" for challenging his reelection, sat onstage at Politicon, a national politics and media convention held this year in Nashville.
Walsh, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld participated in the forum, with the impeachment process being the only point of contention between the three candidates.
"I don't give a damn how impeachment plays politically," said Walsh, who was elected to Congress in the Tea Party wave and this year apologized for racist comments made about former President Barack Obama. "You do what's right. This man has abused the powers of his office."
Walsh and Weld, the latter who argued Trump "is not only impeachable, he is removable," agreed that Congress should move forward with impeachment proceedings.
Sanford, however, has said and maintained on Saturday that the currently Democrat-led effort could backfire and, if it fails, solidify Trump's reelection to another four years in office.
"What you want is the outcome of him out of office," Sanford said.
Walsh doubled down that it is more important to send a message condemning actions by Trump, whom the House of Representatives is investigating over allegations that he pressured Ukraine to provide damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate.
"I believe he is a traitor, and I'm speaking broadly," Walsh said of Trump. "He betrays this country every single day, and that’s what he did when he told the president of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
"If you don’t impeach him for that, you're telling future presidents that’s OK to allow foreign governments to screw around with our elections. We can't set that precedent."
He criticized Republicans in the Senate like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz for not speaking out against the president's actions for fear of "Trump's voters."
"They want trump to lose, and then they think when Trump loses, the Republican Party can go back to where it was," Walsh said.
Millennial, minority voters
The candidates also focused on how Republicans could win the vote of millennials and minority voters.
Walsh argued the party is "losing young people by the droves" for failing to take meaningful action on global climate change.
"Young people care about climate change, and we have somebody in the White House who calls it a hoax," Walsh said, arguing the part needed to provide "smart solutions, not necessarily the hysteria that the world's gonna end in four years, but not the ignorance of Republicans that think facts don’t matter."
Weld's strategy is to win primaries in New Hampshire and Super Tuesday states, declaring he wanted to "expand the electorate of people voting in the Republican primary."
He has taken out advertisements in New Hampshire newspapers, for example, urging independents to vote in the Republican primary and asking Democrats to consider re-registering to unaffiliated.
Tennessee's U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican Trump ally, is scheduled to speak at the conference on Sunday. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was speaking at the convention on Saturday.