When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced he was jumping into the 2016 presidential campaign just two months ago, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka had a single-sentence reaction to the union foe’s news: “Scott Walker is a national disgrace.”
Trumka was quick to pounce on Walker’s announcement today that he is suspending his campaign with yet another pithy statement from the union boss: “Scott Walker is still a disgrace, just no longer national.”
In a brief statement delivered to reporters without taking any questions afterward, Walker said he believed in President Reagan’s optimistic view of America but the Republican Party of today “has drifted into personal attacks.”
“In the end, I believe that voters want to be for something and not against someone. Instead of talking about how bad things are, we want to hear about how we can make them better for everyone,” he said. “To refocus the debate will require leadership. While I was sitting in church yesterday, the pastor’s words reminded me that the Bible is full of stories about people who were called to be leaders in unusual ways.”
“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”
The governor said he wants his dropout to usher in a wave of dropouts from the crowded field.
“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner,” he said. “This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and – ultimately – to the future of our country.”
Just four days ago, the governor’s campaign released a video of his presidential vision titled “Won’t Back Down.” Walker’s political foes in addition to Trumka gleefully trumpeted the news of his dropout.
“From the beginning, Walker’s campaign showcased the unabashed hostility that the Republican field has for working people, the middle class, immigrants, and woman. No matter which Republican emerges as this reality show’s victor, voters will ultimately reject the Republican nominee’s jaw-dropping determination to cater to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class,” Democratic National Committee spokesperson TJ Helmstetter said in a statement.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Walker’s former competitors for the nomination issued polite statements wishing the governor well.
“Scott Walker is a good man who entered the presidential race after winning three grueling campaigns in four years. I know many people are disappointed with Scott’s announcement and I respect what a difficult decision it must have been,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said. “He remains one of the best governors in the country and I have no doubt that he’ll continue the fight for conservative principles. Republicans are lucky to have Scott on our team, and I wish the best to him and his family.”
“I got to know
@ScottWalker well—he’s a very nice person and has a great future,” Donald Trump tweeted.
“In the presidential race, his focus on new, innovative policy ideas made the entire Republican field better,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said.