Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh said he stands behind a controversial Twitter post he made following Thursday night’s shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas.
But he’s also apologizing.
“I started tweeting as soon as Dallas began last night (Thursday),” the Republican who once represented Illinois’ 8th congressional district told WBEZ. “I must’ve sent out over a hundred tweets and I’m not going to stop.”
Well, he did stop for a little after Twitter suspended his account.
The social media outlet wouldn’t allow Walsh to tweet anymore following what was seen as a threat to President Barack Obama.
Shortly before 11 p.m., Walsh posted the tweet that read, “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matters punks. Real America is coming after you.”
The tweet was widely criticized from folks near and far, even some famous one like singer John Legend.
“I knew that people would misinterpret that and I apologize to anyone who thought that I was advocating violence against Obama. That’s not what I was doing,” Walsh, the one-term congressman from Chicago’s Western suburbs, said. “I’m a former congressman and syndicated radio talk show host. To think I would advocate violence against Obama or anybody is idiotic and stupid and just plain wrong.”
Walsh said he was trying to make a larger point.
“There is a war against our cops. I think Obama and Black Lives Matter, they both contribute to this war and it’s tough the rest of fought back and stood by our cops. That’s all I was trying to say,” Walsh said.
Starting with the police-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri nearly two years ago, Walsh said Obama criticizes police without first learning about all the facts.
“Every time one of these cases happens, Barack Obama always takes the side against the cops. He always said it’s the cops are the ones that need to improve and reform and retrain,” Walsh said.
Walsh said there are times when cops are in the wrong.
“Cops make mistakes, cops screw up and there are bad cops that literally do commit murder,” Walsh said. “But my point is, don’t cops get their day in court?”
Walsh said already people are jumping to conclusion that the officers involved in the recent deaths of African-Americans Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile, 32, near St. Paul, Minnesota, are racists.
“There’s been no investigation, no trial, no nothing. So what does that do? It tells all these stupid thugs out there that cops are racists. That’s a terrible thing to do,” Walsh said.
When asked if he regretted posting the controversial tweet that’s now resulted in death threats against Walsh and calls for his arrest, Walsh said, “No, not all all. I didn’t take it down. Twitter took it down.”
A Twitter spokesman said he couldn’t confirm that chain of events because the company doesn’t comment on individual accounts.
But he said a Twitter rule states that users “may not make threats of violence or promote violence.”
Walsh went on to host his nationally syndicated show “The Joe Walsh Show” as planned on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.