Challenging Trump: Former Massachusetts Governor Announces 2020 Bid
By Chris Sommerfeldt
Bill Weld is giving President Trump a run for his money.
The former Massachusetts governor and perennial political candidate announced Monday he's going to challenge Trump for the GOP nomination in 2020, becoming the first and likely only Republican to do so.
"In these times of great political strife, when both major parties are entrenched in their 'win at all cost' battles, the voices of the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering," Weld said in a statement.
"It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln -- equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight."
Weld's announcement came on the same day that Trump's 2020 campaign announced it had raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of this year, outpacing all Democratic presidential hopefuls and placing him at firm financial advantage.
Weld, 73, who was the running mate to failed Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson in 2016, served as the Republican governor of Massachusetts between 1991 and 1997, unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 1996, mounted a failed bid for governor of New York in 2006 and served as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts between 1981 and 1986. He was born in Smithtown, New York.
Trump allies scoffed at Weld's announcement and claimed he has no real shot.
"I'll enjoy commenting as soon as I stop laughing," Michael Caputo, a senior adviser on Trump's 2016 campaign, told the Daily News. "Bill Weld wouldn't be a serious contender for Student Association Treasurer at UMass Amherst."
The Republican National Committee took a slightly more muted approach.
"The RNC and the Republican Party are firmly behind the president," an RNC spokeswoman said in a statement. "Any effort to challenge the president's nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere."
While Trump's national approval rating remains low, his popularity among Republicans is strong, with nearly 90% of registered GOP voters approving of his job performance, according to Gallup's latest survey.
But Weld appeared undeterred by such figures and spent the first couple of hours of his 2020 campaign retweeting optimistic messages from supporters.
"A moderate Republican? A fiscal conservative? A decent person? I'd vote for that today, if I could," one user tweeted at Weld. "I may have to switch parties so I can vote in a Republican primary!"
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