When he dropped out of the presidential race, Scott Walker announced that Republican candidates needed to coalesce behind one anti-Trump alternative.
Six months later, he’s finally on board with someone else. The Wisconsin governor announced Tuesday morning that he will support Ted Cruz. And Walker made the call in the nick of time, with just seven days left until Wisconsin’s winner-take-all primary.
“He is a decent man,” Walker told conservative radio host Charlie Sykes on his morning talk show. “He loves his family, he loves his wife, he adores his children, he loves his country.”
Walker also said he and Cruz had connected over their similar backgrounds.
“He and I are both preachers’ kids, so I certainly can appreciate and feel strongly about the impact that his father had on him,” Walker said.
He added that he thinks Cruz will win the 1,237 delegates necessary to prevent a contested convention, an outcome even Cruz’s campaign seems to think is unlikely.
Though Walker avoided ripping Trump in that conversation, he couldn’t have picked a more anti-Trump venue to make the announcement. Sykes is one of Trump’s biggest detractors in the Badger State, opposing him from the start and on just about every broadcast for the past few weeks.
Sykes brutalized Trump on Monday when the candidate called in for an interview without apparently Googling the host first.
But Sykes isn’t the only Wisconsin radio talker who has little love for Trump. Collin Roth, the managing editor of Sykes’s site Right Wisconsin, explained that every major state-level radio host there opposes Trump’s candidacy.
“I don’t know of a single host who’s pro-Trump,” he said. “I don’t know of a single host who’s even dabbled in Trumpism.”
Of those hosts, Sykes has the most reach and influence. But he wasn’t the only Badger State talker to rip Trump on Monday. Host Jerry Bader told Trump on air that he prefers Cruz. Trump hung up on another host, Vicki McKenna, after she criticized him for dividing Republicans.
“You’re obviously not going to vote for me,” he said, before abruptly ending the conversation.
Walker has taken a markedly different tone, telling Sykes that he will campaign throughout Wisconsin with Cruz up through the Tuesday primary, and that he will focus on praising him, rather than criticizing the frontrunner.
“It sounds like he’s been a Cruz supporter all along,” said Matt Batzel, a Wisconsinite who heads the conservative grassroots group American Majority.
“It’s better to have him out there than not,” he added. “Walker’s popularity isn’t where it used to be, but he still is influential, especially for consolidating the anti-Trump vote.”