William Weld announces challenge to Trump in GOP primary

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William Weld served two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s, and was known as a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican. | Charles Krupa/AP Photo

BOSTON — Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is officially challenging President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.

“I’m running for president of the United States,” Weld said Monday during an appearance on CNN. “I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t raise my hand and run.”

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Weld, 73, most recently ran as the running mate of 2016 Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson. He served two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s, and was known as a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican. He re-registered as a Republican earlier this year in Canton, Mass., where he lives.

In his presidential announcement video, Weld touts his experience balancing the state budget and cutting taxes, as well as his record as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts under President Ronald Reagan. In the video, Weld also contrasts himself with the president through clips of Trump making fun of a disabled person and discussing grabbing women by the genitals.

Weld announced a presidential exploratory committee in February and has traveled to New Hampshire a number of times to explore a White House bid. He toured downtown Concord, N.H., with Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey in March, and discussed the need for an impartial primary process. Despite Trump’s positive polling numbers among Republicans in early-voting states like New Hampshire, Weld has previously said he plans to garner support among independent and millennial voters during the primary.

If he does not win the nomination, Weld said, he will not run as an independent in the general election. He also said he would not support the president in the general election.

“I could not support Donald Trump for president. I’m not saying I would ever endorse a Democrat in this race, but I could never support the president,” Weld said on Monday. Shortly before the 2016 election, Weld voiced support for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, over Trump, despite being on another presidential ticket himself.