Joe Walsh drops Republican primary challenge against Trump, exits 2020 presidential race

Conservative radio host and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh announced the end of his Republican primary challenge against President Donald Trump on Friday, days after he garnered 1% of the vote during the Iowa caucuses.

Walsh, a former supporter of the president, said Friday in a tweet that he remained committed to "doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November."

"I'm suspending my campaign, but our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started," he wrote.

Walsh told CNN that he considers Trump to be "literally the greatest threat to this country right now."

"Any Democrat would be better than Trump in the White House," Walsh said.

Walsh launched his presidential bid in August during an appearance on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I'm going to do whatever I can," Walsh told Stephanopoulos. "I don't want him to win. The country cannot afford to have him win. If I'm not successful, I'm not voting for him."

The former congressman from Illinois had to contend with high approval ratings from Republicans for the president, which stood around 88% at the time he announced his candidacy, and Trump’s well-filled campaign coffers.

"I got into this because I thought it was really important that there was a Republican -- a Republican -- out there every day calling out this president for how unfit he is," he told CNN on Friday.

Walsh’s exit from the 2020 Republican primaries leaves Trump facing just one challenger for the GOP presidential nomination: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

"It's hard to challenge a tyrant," R.J. Lyman, Weld's campaign, told The New York Times. "Joe Walsh is a very different person than Bill Weld, but is a good person and he made a good effort to explain how a Tea Party Republican could stand up to Trump. People weren't willing to follow."

In the Iowa caucus earlier this week, Walsh garnered 1.1 percent of the votes to Weld's 1.3 percent and Trump's 97.1 percent, according to the Times.

Trump acknowledged the results and his primary challengers Thursday in a speech at the White House.

"We have two people running, you know, and I guess they consider them non-people, but they are running," he said. "I mean, one was a governor. One was a congressman. They’re running."

Weld will face Trump for the GOP presidential nomination Feb. 11, when voters in New Hampshire go to the polls for the next presidential primary.

The winner of the nomination will face the Democratic nominee in November’s general election.

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