Bill Maher has spent plenty of time placating loathsome figures on his HBO show Real Time. But he deserves credit for not letting Trump 2020 primary challenger Joe Walsh off the hook for his history of horrendous commentary on this week’s episode.
Walsh got a warm welcome from Maher’s audience when he joined the show at the midway point Friday night. “Apparently they don’t know your history, Joe,” the host said when the applause died down.
Maher pointed out that Walsh doesn’t like that Trump “lies” or that he’s a “traitor,” but “issue-wise,” they’re not that far apart.
“He’s done some good things,” Walsh admitted as Maher listed off a variety of conservative positions he shares with the president.
“Joe, you were a leader of the anti-Obama nutcase caucus,” Maher said as Walsh tried to distance himself from the man who launched his political career on Birtherism.
As he’s done before, Walsh confessed that he helped pave the way for Trump but unlike others in the media, Maher would not let the candidate paint himself as some sort of anti-Trump savior.
Walsh attempted to contrast himself with the current president by saying, “I do not and will not lie every time I open my mouth,” but he put that promise to the test when Maher grilled him on the way he repeated about President Obama during the previous administration.
“I know you’ve had to answer a lot of questions about race,” Maher said. Last month, Walsh said on MSNBC that he “wouldn’t call” himself a racist but conceded that he’s “said racist things on Twitter.” Maher sarcastically called that a “fine distinction.”
“Just look me in the eye and tell me that the seething, frothing hatred that I remember that you had for Barack Obama had nothing to do with the fact that he was black,” Maher said.
“Oh, gosh no,” Walsh replied incredulously, claiming that his birther-inspired comments labeling Obama a “Muslim” had everything to do with his “policies.” The host didn’t seem to be buying it.
Finally, Maher asked the former Trump supporter why anyone should vote for him if it took him until 2019 to “know that Donald Trump was full of shit.”
“It’s a good question,” Walsh said, explaining that he actually “found religion” in 2018.