Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he was dropping out of the 2016 GOP presidential race, and he urged other Republican candidates to do the same to stop the party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump.
Walker said that the Republican presidential debate last week at the Reagan library in California reminded him that former President Ronald Reagan was an optimist, and that it also showed him the party “has drifted into personal attacks.”
He said that he believed the voters wanted to be for something “and not against someone.”
Making his announcement from Madison, Wisconsin, Walker said that the Republican Party needed to get back to the basics of its party — beliefs that include that a strong military leads to peace, and that it believes in the American people. He then took a thinly veiled swipe at Trump, whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again.”
“These ideas will help us win the election next fall,” Walker said. “And more importantly — these ideas will make our country great again.”
Walker said he was reminded at church that the Bible “is full of stories about people who are called to be leaders in unusual ways.”
“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Walker said. “With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.”
He went on to directly take on Trump, who has dominated the rest of the field in the polls since getting into the race this summer.
“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current frontrunner,” Walker added.
Walker said offering an alternative was “fundamentally important” to the future of the Republican Party and “more importantly to the future of our country.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first Republican presidential candidate to drop out of the race on Sept. 11. There are now 15 candidates competing for the GOP nomination.
Watch video of the Walker’s announcement:
This post has been updated.