Bill Weld, a former two-term Governor of Massachusetts, has officially become the first Republican to challenge President Trump in 2020.
Weld was expected to run after previously announcing the creation of an exploratory committee in February. However, with Monday’s news, Weld will now be running in the Republican presidential primary in 2020, assuming his campaign gets enough signatures in each state to have his name appear on the ballot.
“Ours is a nation built on courage, resilience, and independence. In these times of great political strife, when both 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 announcing his campaign. “It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. 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,” Weld continued, in an apparent jab at President Trump’s key slogan. “I am ready to lead that fight.”
As of this writing, Bill Weld has not added a policy section to his campaign website, so it remains unclear as to how his platform would differ from President Trump’s policies. However, Weld was former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s running mate on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, which ran on policies like abolishing the IRS and the Department of Education, cutting regulations on businesses, legalizing marijuana, and cutting spending on the military as well as cutting Social Security and Medicare (dubbed “entitlements“) in order to balance the federal budget (Social Security does not contribute to the federal deficit).
With Weld officially in the running, Donald Trump is the first sitting president since George H.W. Bush to have a primary challenger. Pat Buchanan unsuccessfully challenged Bush in the 1992 Republican primary, though Bush went on to lose to Bill Clinton in the November general election. While no president has ever lost a primary, the last three times a sitting president has had a primary challenger, they’ve lost the general election (George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford on the Republican side, and Jimmy Carter on the Democratic side).
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.