Joe Walsh: ‘I Wouldn’t Call Myself a Racist,’ but ‘I’ve Said Racist Things on Twitter’

Appearing Monday on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House, former Illinois congressman and longshot 2020 Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh conceded that he has previously made “racist” remarks.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

JOHN HEILEMANN: You’ve apologized for helping to spawn Trump and for going too far. For a lot of people, the president is a stone-cold racist and so are you. I can sit here and read off tweets: “Barack Obama’s a Muslim,” “Barack Obama was born in Kenya.”

I’ve got tweets with you using the N-word, not that long ago. You can apologize for various things. Apologizing for burping at the table or using the wrong fork with your main course is different than offering some kind of a genuine recognition — not just “I said things that were offensive” — but “I’m a racist, I’ve said racist stuff.” There’s no way someone who — to many African-Americans, looks like as much as a racist as Donald Trump — has the moral standing to challenge Donald Trump.

JOE WALSH: I wouldn’t call myself a racist, but I would say, John, I’ve said racist things on Twitter. There’s no doubt about it. And an apology is not enough. When I said Barack Obama was a Muslim, that was a horrible thing to say. And I said it because I was so disgusted with Obama’s policy towards Israel, that I went a bad, ugly step. The Sandy Hook moms, I took a cheap shot against them three years ago because they were suing gun manufacturers, an issue that I disagree with. So I took a bad, cheap shot against them. I’ve done that.

But, John, again, context, I’ve probably sent out 40,000 tweets in the last six years, no excuse, you and I could sit down and find 200 to 300 that you’d say, “Walsh, what were you thinking?” All I can do is own them and explain them and apologize as sincerely as I can for those that deserve an apology.

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