GOP 2020 candidate Joe Walsh: 'The Republican Party is a cult'

Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, a challenger to President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, criticized the GOP as a "cult" after several states cancel the Republican primary.

"I've given up on the Republican Party. The Republican Party is a cult," Walsh said in an interview with CNN. "They no longer stand for ideas. The Republican Party right now is all about washing their leader's feet every day."

Republican leaders in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas have all canceled their party's presidential primary. State parties in the past have decided to forego primary contests when there is a strong incumbent running for re-election as president.

Walsh's comments come days after he and two other GOP presidential hopefuls, South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, criticized the move to eliminate the GOP presidential primary.

Trump has criticized his GOP opponents, once calling Walsh a "a one-time BAD Congressman." Walsh supported Trump in 2016, but has since called the president "unfit." 

Walsh said that the move to cancel some Republican presidential primaries shows that Trump is a "would-be dictator."

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"I always want to pinch myself and remind myself that this isn't Russia. I do not live in Russia. I refuse to live in Russia," he said in the CNN interview. "We can't just cancel elections in this country. That's what Donald Trump is doing. He's literally canceling elections, and it's very easy to be pissed off at Trump, but we're used to this with Trump. He is a would-be dictator. He would like this to be Russia."

When asked what he would do to challenge canceling those primaries, Walsh said that he was going to "campaign directly to Republican voters" in all 50 states, including South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and Kansas.

"I believe if we let these Republican voters know that the President of the United States just took away their right to vote, they'll march on the headquarters of their state parties to get that right to vote back," Walsh said.

Contributing: Savannah Behrmann and John Fritze

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Walsh: 'The Republican Party is a cult'