Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, running to deny President Trump of the Republican Party’s 2020 nomination, admitted this week that voters are just really not interested in a challenger.
Weld officially launched his long-shot bid in April to block Trump’s renomination, saying “There is no greater cause on Earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”
He also called Trump a “one-man crime wave” and urged the president to resign.
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But now, Weld is conceding that Republican voters actually approve of Trump and there’s little enthusiasm for anyone in the GOP to seriously challenge the president in 2020 — though he takes credit for cutting into Trump’s support within his own party.
“A primary challenger can, as Pat Buchanan did, help to create that unrest,” Weld told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” referring to the former Nixon speechwriter and conservative commentator who challenged former President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 Republican primaries. Bush survived the challenge but ultimately lost to Democrat Bill Clinton in the general election.
“A year is a long time. Eighteen months is forever in national politics, and a lot is going on,” Weld continued, asserting that Trump erred this week by telling congressional Democrats he won’t work on an infrastructure bill unless they halt their investigations of him.
“The president is just abdicating his responsibility as president. I think that is so outrageous that I think it’s going to sink in over time in the consciousness of the American people that we can’t have this guy doing this job,” Weld added.
“The president is just abdicating his responsibility as president. I think that is so outrageous that I think it’s going to sink in over time in the consciousness of the American people that we can’t have this guy doing this job.”
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Trump has been enjoying near universal approval among Republicans, according to various polls, often getting over 90 percent approval. The president fares worse in general opinion polls, with his approval rating lurking around 40 percent.
Yet Weld isn’t the only Republican thinking about challenging Trump. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who earned praise from Trump critics, is reportedly considering a bid.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, is “actively thinking about” launching a challenge to Trump, but hasn’t yet made concrete moves.
Weld, meanwhile, has been campaigning in New Hampshire and actually maintains a campaign staff. He told C-SPAN that he will expand his campaign into other states.
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“We’re hiring, we’re staffing up. Within the next couple of weeks I’m going to be in Maryland, in Texas, in California — so we’re starting to travel more broadly,” he said, calling it “the makings for a very serious challenge.”