WASHINGTON, (AFP) – Donald Trump has 18 Democratic rivals for the White House, but on Monday the president saw a new 2020 challenger jump into the race: a candidate from within his own Republican Party.
“I’m in!” tweeted Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor who has called for Americans to stand up against the “schoolyard bully” currently in the Oval Office.
Weld, 73, has mulled a Trump challenge for months. He has little chance of snatching the Republican nomination from the sitting president, who remains popular among his base.
But the upstart candidacy signals there is at least some frustration within Republican ranks, particularly over Trump’s bare-knuckled attacks on opponents, his obsequious approach to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a summit last year, and his controversial remarks that there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Virginia.
“America has a choice,” says the narrator of a video announcing Weld’s candidacy. “A better America starts here.”
The two-minute video highlights Weld’s accomplishments as governor of the progressive state of Massachusetts from 1991 until 1997, when he balanced the budget, cut taxes, cracked down on corruption and helped reform welfare.
But it also pointed to Trump’s unsettling sexist comments about women, his mockery of a reporter with disabilities, and his unfulfilled pledge to have Mexico pay for a wall on the southern US border.
After his governorship, Weld joined the Libertarian Party, serving as running mate to its 2016 candidate Gary Johnson, before returning to Republican ranks in February.
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