President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted misinformation and disinformation questioning the results of the election, which he presumptively lost.
Many of those claims have been amplified by conservative media outlets, which have significant influence over Republican voters.
“There’s something that just doesn’t feel right about this,” Fox News host Jesse Watters said on his show over the weekend. “You feel it, too. Joe Biden didn’t earn it. He didn’t really even campaign. He thought he was going to lose. You could see it. He ran a losing campaign. So ten days after the election, how is he ahead?”
In much of the conservative media landscape it’s virtually impossible for any anti-Trump voices to be heard, said Joe Walsh, the former Illinois Republican congressman-turned conservative media personality-turned fierce Trump critic. He understands why high-profile Fox News hosts won’t denounce Trump’s “lies” about the election.
“If you’re a Republican and you criticize this president he goes after you and you get death threats from his supporters. That’s happened to me almost on a daily basis the last two and a half years,” Walsh said. “Election night, I was happy that Joe Biden won, but I was sad because it’s now clear that Trump’s hold on the Republican party is permanent.”
With Trump controlling the GOP, Walsh says he and other conservatives who don’t support the president are in the political wilderness — and he warns that after months of messaging from Trump about a rigged election, his supporters aren’t going to accept the outcome.
“They’re not going to accept Joe Biden as their president. We’re talking about maybe 35 to 40% of the population. That’s scary, that’s dangerous, and I’m afraid it’s going to lead to violence,” Walsh said.
While he’s not hopeful that Trump’s supporters or conservative media outlets will call him out, Walsh says it’s important not to become numb to an unprecedented situation.
“We can’t normalize what this president is doing,” Walsh said. “For the first time in our country’s history we have a sitting American president who is literally refusing to accept the will of the people. Let’s nor normalize this. And we have a party, a Republican party, that is allowing him to do it.”