Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld told an audience in New Hampshire this morning that he will take on President Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primaries.
“Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld looking to challenge President Trump in 2020 Republican primary”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 15, 2019
The announcement comes as a mild surprise, and represents the first legitimate GOP challenge to Trump’s reelection bid.
“It is time for all people of good will — and our country is filled with people of good will — to take a stand and plant a flag,” Weld said during a speech Friday at a Politics & Eggs breakfast in Bedford, New Hampshire.
“In every country, there comes a time when patriotic men and women must stand up and speak out,” he said. “In our country, this is such a time.”
The 73 year-old Weld told reporters that he will try to determine over the coming months if he can raise enough money to continue his challenge to Trump. He said he would run on the old-time Republican agenda of fiscal responsibility. He also said he plans to offer a significant contrast to the current occupant of the White House.
In his remarks today in the first primary state Weld openly denounced the president, saying “he acts like a schoolyard bully.” He also offered strong criticisms of other Republicans in Washington who he said “exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome.”
“We don’t need six more years of the antics we have seen,” he added.
Weld will obviously have a very difficult path to the GOP nomination. Trump is still very popular with core Republican voters who will determine the winner of Republican primaries.
In an interview this week, however, Weld said that even if he does not beat Trump, a potential benefit of running, from his perspective, would be weakening Trump for the general election. And in the past strong primary challenges to incumbent presidents have often led to defeats in November. Examples of this include Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, all of whom lost reelection bids.
Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts as a Republican twice, first in 1990. He ran his first campaign as a reformer who supported gay rights and abortion rights.
Just last month another Republican former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, said that in his opinion it was time for someone to step up and challenge Trump in the 2020 GOP primaries. And apparently his colleague Bill Weld heard the call, and is doing exactly with Mitt Romney asked him to do.