Original article published in the Boston Herald by Lisa Kashinsky available here
Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential hopeful Bill Weld speaks before the Portsmouth Rotary Club at the Portsmouth Country Club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Staff photo By Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Want a Republican alternative to Donald Trump? Bill Weld is making his pitch.
The former two-term governor of Massachusetts is decrying the state of affairs in Washington as he mounts a primary challenge against the president. Campaigning Thursday in the Granite State, Weld said Trump “thinks American citizens are his natural enemies.”
“People try to claim he’s a really good counter-puncher in politics. He’s not a counter-puncher. He’s just vindictive by nature, and mostly against little people. He’s like bullies everywhere,” Weld said. “If nobody stands up to him, which is what we see with the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., he’s going to keep being a bully.
“I would treat everybody with respect,” Weld added. “That doesn’t cost anything.”
Weld spoke to about three dozen people at a Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce event Thursday morning and a group double in size at a Portsmouth Rotary Club event that afternoon. While some voters said they found his message “refreshing,” they weren’t entirely sold on his ability to successfully challenge Trump.
“He had some good things to say,” said Bill Simpson, an independent from Greenland, N.H. “I don’t think he has a chance in hell at the nomination.”
Weld also lacks money, with just under $700,000 in total contributions. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $105 million in the second quarter.
GOP strategist Ryan Williams said, “Bill Weld has no shot at winning.”
“He obviously feels very strongly about President Trump and the direction he’s taking the party, and it’s a direction that’s at odds with Bill Weld’s idea of the party,” Williams said. “But winning or even making a dent in President Trump’s support — his campaign is completely insignificant in that regard.”
Weld knocked the president’s attack on “the squad” of minority freshman congresswomen and chants of “Send her back” during Trump’s North Carolina campaign rally Wednesday night.
“Last time it was, ‘Lock her up.’ Now it’s, ‘Send her back,’” Weld said. “It’s not worthy of the White House, really.”
As Weld — the vice presidential nominee from the Libertarian Party in 2016 — looks to win New Hampshire’s Republican primary, he has a message for Democrats, too.
“If you want to vote against Mr. Trump twice, come vote in the Republican primary for me, because that’s directly against Mr. Trump,” Weld said. “Then take a long hot shower with soap and go back to being a Democrat.”
Portsmouth Democrat Susan Gold liked Weld’s idea for pulling a Republican primary ballot — but didn’t think she’d do it. Still, she enjoyed Weld’s “encouraging” message, saying “it sounds like a completely different party.”