Joe Walsh becomes second Republican to challenge Trump for White House

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Joe Walsh, a conservative former U.S. congressman turned talk show host, on Sunday became the second Republican to challenge President Donald Trump for the party's 2020 White House nomination.

Walsh criticized Trump, who has strong support among Republicans, as a bully who is unfit for office as he announced his long-shot bid.

"I'm running because he's unfit," Walsh, 57, told ABC's "This Week" program. "Somebody needs to step up."

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Joe Walsh becomes second Republican candidate to challenge Trump
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FILE - In this July 27, 2011 file photo, Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill. addresses a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Thursday, July 28, 2011, that Walsh's ex-wife, Laura Walsh has sued her ex-husband for more than $117,000 in what she says is unpaid child support and interest. Laura Walsh filed the claim in December in their divorce case. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)
Joe Walsh headshot, as US Representative of Illinois, photo on black
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2010 file photo, then-Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Thursday, July 28, 2011, that Walsh's ex-wife, Laura Walsh has sued her ex-husband for more than $117,000 in what she says is unpaid child support and interest. Laura Walsh filed the claim in December in their divorce case. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh speaks to constituents during a town hall at Harper College in the Wojcik Conference Center in Palatine, Illinois, Monday, August 8, 2011. The new congressman's emergence as a national advocate of fiscal responsibility has capped a remarkable and unlikely journey for a North Barrington, Illinois, native who has struggled with financial problems and legal disputes and has dramatically shifted some political positions along the way. (Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh speaks to constituents during a town hall at Harper College in the Wojcik Conference Center in Palatine, Illinois, Monday, August 8, 2011. The new congressman's emergence as a national advocate of fiscal responsibility has capped a remarkable and unlikely journey for a North Barrington, Illinois, native who has struggled with financial problems and legal disputes and has dramatically shifted some political positions along the way. (Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) applauds a speaker Monday, April 18, 2011 during a tax day rally in Daley Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. The new congressman's emergence as a national advocate of fiscal responsibility has capped a remarkable and unlikely journey for a North Barrington, Illinois, native who has struggled with financial problems and legal disputes and has dramatically shifted some political positions along the way. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Joe Walsh and his wife Helene Walsh walk near the U.S. Capitol, Monday, November 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. The new congressman's emergence as a national advocate of fiscal responsibility has capped a remarkable and unlikely journey for a North Barrington, Illinois, native who has struggled with financial problems and legal disputes and has dramatically shifted some political positions along the way. (Brendan Hoffman/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
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"He's a bully and he's a coward and somebody needs to call him out," Walsh said. "The bet ... of my campaign is that there are a lot of Republicans that feel like I do. They're afraid to come forward."

Walsh won a House of Representatives seat from Illinois as a candidate of the Republican Party's fiscally conservative Tea Party movement in 2010 but was defeated by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in his 2012 re-election bid. After leaving Congress, he became a Chicago-area radio talk show host.

William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, had been the only Republican trying to unseat Trump, but his candidacy has so far failed to gain traction.

Former U.S. Representative and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford said in July he was considering a primary challenge because of the rising federal debt.

Any Republican challenger will face a formidable re-election effort mounted by Trump, who has consolidated his grip on the party’s national and state machinery. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Aug. 19-20 showed 87% of Republicans approve of his performance in office.

Walsh said he was undeterred. "I think this thing ... will catch on like wildfire," he said. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Sonya Hepinstall)

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