Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) criticized President Barack Obama for his upcoming jobs speech, saying "there is no reason for him to call a joint session of Congress" during an interview with MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Friday.
"He is abusing his position," Walsh said. "We reserve that for heads of state and visiting dignitaries, presidents in moments of crisis."
“This is a political exercise. This is political theater.”
Walsh attempted to distance himself from his statement in an interview earlier this year that Obama was elected because he is black, but didn't fully back away from his assertion that Obama's race was a factor.
“I think we elected this president because of who he was," Walsh told Bashir. "He was a historic figure. It made this country feel good to elect him.”
“We did not vet him," Walsh continued. "Your profession did not vet him as much we should.”
Walsh has publicly stated that he will not be attending the Sept. 8 speech, saying that he doesn't "see the point of being a prop for another of the president's speeches."
“The president needs to stop the speeches, get out of his office and away from all the White House academics and start talking to real people out there," Walsh said in a statement issued Thursday. "They’re the ones who are going to create the jobs, not White House paper-pushers and bureaucrats.”
At an Illinois gathering earlier this week, Walsh called the president "idiotic" and said he "destroyed job creation systematically for three years."
Walsh told Bashir that he apologized for the statement at a town hall meeting on Thursday, saying he meant to call Obama’s plan to present a jobs speech “idiotic,” rather than the president himself.
"I did not mean to say that," Walsh told Bashir. "That was over the line."