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Who is Bill Weld?
Current job: Candidate for the president of the US in the Republican primary.
Family: Weld is married to Leslie Marshall, an author and journalist. With his previous wife, Weld has five children.
Hometown: Smithtown, New York.
Political party: Republican (2019-present); Libertarian (2016-2019); Republican (before 2016).
Previous jobs: Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee (2016); Governor of Massachusetts (1991-1997); Assistant attorney general for US Criminal Division (1986-1988); United States Attorney for Massachusetts (1981-1986).
Could Bill Weld win the nomination?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the reality is that Weld is probably not going to be the Republican nominee for the presidency in 2020.
In general, as leader of the Republican Party a candidate like Trump has considerable home-field advantage when it comes to orchestrating the primary process, and the presidency offers unparalleled awareness numbers that Weld will not share.
There is an appeal among some Republicans for a challenger to Trump. INSIDER conducted a national SurveyMonkey Audience poll in late April that asked Republicans “What best describes your view about the prospects for a Republican primary in 2020?“
Among respondents who identified as at least slightly conservative, 13% said, “I would absolutely support a qualified candidate who challenged President Trump in the Republican primary,” 11% said, “I would probably support a qualified Republican candidate who challenged President Trump in the primary,” and 18% said, “I support the president, however I am open to other qualified Republican primary challengers.”
Potentially, Weld could tap into that 42%. More likely, he won’t be able to leverage that into a winning constituency.
What are Bill Weld’s political positions?
- On healthcare:
- Weld expanded Medicaid access while governor of Massachusetts.
- He also asked the federal government to boost funding to his state for Medicaid.
- On immigration:
- During the 2016 election when Weld was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee, he compared Trump’s proposals for mass deportations to the practices of Nazi Germany.
- Weld wants broader access for visas and working permits.
- On climate change:
- Weld believes in climate change and the United States’ need to act on countering its effects.
- He supports the US rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.
- At Business Insider’s Republican debate in September, Weld backed the idea of pricing carbon emissions to alleviate the threat of climate change.
- On campaign finance:
- Former special counsel and FBI Director Robert Mueller donated to Weld’s 1996 Senate campaign.
- During the 2016 presidential race, Weld accepted donations from individuals and PACs.
- On abortion:
- Weld is pro-choice and supports legal access to abortion.
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Weld supported an amicus brief that petitioned to overturn California’s former law that outlawed same-sex marriage.
- Weld created the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.
- He was supportive of allowing transgender individuals access to bathrooms of their choice.
- GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said of Weld: “Governor William Weld represents what is needed and has been missing within the Republican Party: a campaign message about acceptance for all marginalized communities, including LGBTQ people.”
- On education:
- Weld has supported abolishing the Department of Education, as is common with fiscal conservatives looking to reduce government’s overall size.
- As governor he signed bills into law to increase school standards.
- On Supreme Court and congressional issues:
- Weld said in an interview he supports both of Trump’s Supreme Court picks in Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
- “…I think both the Supreme Court nominees are highly intelligent,” Weld said of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. “I applauded both of them.”
- On guns:
- Weld broke with Republicans to back assault weapons bans in the 1990s.
- He has also supported waiting periods for firearms purchases and bans on handgun sales to individuals under 21.
- On criminal-justice reform:
- Weld is on the board of cannabis company Acreage Holdings.
- He has supported legalizing marijuana for nearly 30 years.
- On trade:
- Weld opposes tariffs like the Trump administration has implemented.
- He also wants the federal government to reduce overall spending.
- Weld – at Business Insider’s Republican debate in September – slammed Trump’s tariffs on China as unnecessary taxes on the American public. “It’s paid for by American farmers or American businesses or individuals who need to import something from China that contains steel or aluminum, and everyone knows it.”
- On foreign policy:
- Weld opposes countries being allowed to develop nuclear without proper oversight, calling proliferation “the number one threat to the security of the world.” He supported the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal.
- President Bill Clinton tapped Weld to serve as his ambassador to Mexico, but withdrew his nomination after complications in the Senate.
- Weld has since been critical of the Iraq War and other invasions, according to The New York Times.
- Weld has criticized Trump’s foreign policy in a recent interview with Vox.
- “I think his most outrageous performance has been not domestic, but international, going out of his way to insult our allies, conducting a mock bromance with a cold-blooded murderer in North Korea, saying that, “I, Donald Trump, have fallen in love with the kid. What a strong kid. He [Kim Jong Un] iced his own uncle. Hell, he iced his brother. What a strong guy,” and cozying up to dictators and calling our allies weak and stupid,” Weld said.
- Weld accused Trump of “treason” after reports emerged that the president pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate former vice president Joe Biden’s son over possible corruption. He said the death sentence “was the only penalty” for that crime.
- On taxes:
- He supports tax cuts, implementing more than a dozen during his time as governor of Massachusetts.
- Weld wants to increase tax credits for lower-income Americans. “One thing I did do as governor in Massachusetts was to greatly increase the earned income tax credit, which helps the working poor. I probably would do more of that because we don’t need to have people making $29,000 a year who have a family. If that sounds like attacking income inequality, that’s because it is,” Weld told Vox.
What are Bill Weld’s political successes?
- As governor of Massachusetts, Weld oversaw six upgrades for the state’s bond ratings.
- Weld has been regarded as the most fiscally conservative governor of his time by think tanks and editorial boards.
- While assistant attorney general, Weld worked on the apprehension of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
- While blindfolded, Weld would play three games of chess at a time while in college, according to a New York Magazine profile.
How much money has Bill Weld raised?
Weld’s campaign reported raising $691,000 in the second quarter of 2019. He spent $572,000 during the same period.
Read more of our stories on Bill Weld:
- No sitting president has survived a serious primary challenge in the past 50 years. Here’s why Trump should be worried.
- 42% of polled Republicans said they’re at least open to a GOP challenger to Trump. That’s a big problem for the president.
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