Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld Eyes GOP Challenge to Trump

(Bloomberg) -- Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld says he’s exploring a challenge to President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries.

Weld, who ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential candidate in 2016, lashed out at the president at an event in New Hampshire, where the first primary will be held a year from now.

He criticized Trump as “unstable,” and said “many Republicans exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, identifying with their captor,” according to the Boston Herald.

Weld would have to overcome Trump’s solid hold on the Republican Party voting base and party organization. The Republican National Committee during their winter meeting in January passed a resolution supporting Trump. Opinion polls have repeatedly shown high approval ratings for Trump among Republican voters.

“The RNC and the Republican Party are firmly behind the president. Any effort to challenge the president’s nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” the RNC said in a statement.

Weld, 73, was twice elected in Massachusetts as a Republican despite the state’s traditional Democratic lean. He said he’ll spend the next several months determining whether he can raise enough money to mount a serious campaign. In the 2016 election, Weld and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson garnered 3.3 percent of the vote.

Primary challenges to incumbent presidents are rarely successful, though an intra-party fight can weaken the party standard-bearer. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush all lost re-election bids after fending off primary fights within their parties.

Other Republicans whose names have surfaced as possible 2020 challengers to Trump include former Ohio Governor John Kasich, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

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