February 18, 2019
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld (R), who led the Bay State from 1991-1997, announced on February 15 that he was launching an exploratory committee for a potential 2020 White House bid—becoming the first Republican to take a significant step to challenge President Donald Trump, The Hill reported.
Weld sees his base as “never-Trump” Republicans, as well as Independent voters who are eager to push Trump out of the White House.
During a campaign announcement last Friday in New Hampshire, Weld outlined a number of policy differences between himself and the Trump administration, The Hill noted—while taking aim at Democrats whom, he argued, had abandoned the principles of fiscal responsibility. He also took aim at Trump personally, arguing that he was unfit for the presidency.
“[O]ur President is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office—which include the specific duty to take care that the laws be faithfully execute —in a competent and professional matter,” Weld said at the annual Politics & Eggs breakfast hosted by The New England Council. “He is simply in the wrong place.”
“It upsets me that our energies as a society are being sapped by the president’s culture of divisiveness,” Weld said, according to The Hill, adding, “Because of the many concerns I’ve talked about today, I’ve established an exploratory committee to explore the possibility of running as a Republican in the 2020 presidential election.”
The former Massachusetts governor fueled speculation of a presidential bid after he told The Boston Globe earlier this month that his planned speech in New Hampshire “will deal comprehensively with my thoughts about the 2020 election.”
Also raising eyebrows was Weld’s decision earlier this month to rejoin the Republican Party after switching to the Libertarian Party in 2016. That year, he was tapped to run as former libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s running mate.
“I’ve considered myself a ‘small-L libertarian'” for years, Weld added. “[But] I want to not dribble around the court, I want to go right for the hoop. If you want to go one-on-one, you have to go as an ‘R’,” he said of running as a Republican.
Weld’s path to the Republican nomination would be a narrow one, the news outlet said, noting that the GOP has largely consolidated behind Trump in recent years. At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in New Mexico last month, committee members voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the party’s “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”
Research contact: @KMaxGreenwood