Trump dismisses potential primary challengers as ‘Three Stooges’
President Trump on Tuesday dismissed three potential Republican presidential primary challengers as “Three Stooges” as he seeks reelection in 2020.
Walsh and Weld have announced GOP primary campaigns against Trump in 2020, while Sanford has said he is considering one as well.
“Can you believe it? I’m at 94% approval in the Republican Party, and have Three Stooges running against me,” Trump tweeted, though it was unclear what poll he was citing.
“One is ‘Mr. Appalachian Trail’ who was actually in Argentina for bad reasons,” he continued, referring to Sanford.
“Another is a one-time BAD Congressman from Illinois who lost in his second term by a landslide, then failed in radio. The third is a man who couldn’t stand up straight while receiving an award. I should be able to take them!” he added, referring to Walsh and Weld, respectively.
Weld, who ran on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, was the first to announce he would seek to challenge Trump for the GOP nomination. The 74-year-old has struggled to gain traction, however, and most polls have shown him receiving single-digit support.
Walsh, meanwhile, announced his campaign on Sunday. He previously served one term as a congressman in Illinois and went on to become a conservative talk radio host, though he said this week that he lost his show upon launching his primary bid.
The ex-congressman has become a fervent critic of Trump’s rhetoric and character. Walsh himself has a history of making controversial statements, and acknowledged in recent days that he has said “racist things.”
Sanford said last month he was considering a primary challenge to Trump, though he has not formally announced a campaign. He has also been critical of the president, and he lost his reelection bid for his House seat last year after Trump endorsed his primary opponent.
Sanford had an extramarital affair in 2009 while serving as governor of South Carolina, but he lied and said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he had actually gone to Argentina to visit his mistress.
All three men and any other prospective challengers face slim odds to unseat Trump on the 2020 ticket.
The president has the financial backing of the Republican National Committee, and he has solidified support within the GOP, consistently polling close to 90 percent among Republicans in Gallup surveys.