Weld: ‘All of this is totally unprecedented’

As a young lawyer working for the congressional committee investigating President Nixon, Bill Weld’s job was to study every impeachment that had previously occurred in Great Britain and the United States.

Now he’s running in the Republican primary against the third president ever to be impeached by Congress: Donald Trump. He has some perspective.

“All of this is totally unprecedented. We’ve never had a president who came anywhere near this,” said Weld.

The former federal prosecutor and twice-elected Massachusetts governor visited The Codcast on Friday to share his thoughts on President Trump, the impeachment, and his campaign.

Weld plans to compete in every state where he is legally permitted to be on the ballot, and he thinks it is “looney tunes” that the Massachusetts Republican party  suggested he should not be eligible for the ballot here.

Taking on his party’s incumbent, he would consider it an “achievement,” but not a victory, if his sole effect was to torpedo Trump’s re-election bid.

Although he fundamentally disagrees with him on numerous matters, Weld found Trump “refreshing” in the earlier days of his last campaign, and he said he can see why people supported him.

“He had the universal reputation of being the most dishonest businessman in New York, so I was surprised to see him kind of shining in these debates,” Weld said.

In the 1990s, Weld hired Charlie Baker to serve in his cabinet, and then Baker was elected Massachusetts governor in 2014. Baker still speaks highly of Weld’s brand of Republicanism, but Weld hasn’t yet asked Baker about the possibility of an endorsement.

“I try to make it a point never to ask anyone to do something that’s not in their own best political interest,” said Weld, though he didn’t clarify what he thought would be in Baker’s political interest.

Weld is concentrating his early efforts on New Hampshire, and somewhat ironically looks at Pat Buchanan as a precedent for his campaign. In 1992, Buchanan, running on similar themes that Trump would pick up a generation later, lost the Granite State primary but took more than a third of the vote in the contest with President George H.W. Bush, wounding the incumbent’s campaign, which ended in defeat later that year.




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