POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Weld poised to mount GOP primary challenge

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After ditching the Libertarians last month and reuniting with the Republican party, former two-term Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Friday he is exploring a primary challenge against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Speaking at the “Politics & Eggs” breakfast series in Bedford, New Hampshire, Weld said he established an exploratory committee to examine running in 2020 as a Republican.

“There is a place and time for opposition and dissent,” said Weld, 73, according to video of his remarks circulating online. “There’s always room for healthy debate. But there should be no hatred, no intimidation, no name-calling between the various arms of the federal government or between groups of citizens. Like President Reagan, like President Eisenhower, our leaders in government should seek to unite us and make us all proud to be Americans and never, ever seek to divide us.”

Weld served as governor from 1991 to 1997. He later switched to the Libertarian Party, running for vice president alongside Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election. In January, he switched his registration back to Republican.

If Weld follows through and officially challenges Trump, it will be the first time a sitting president faces a primary opponent since 1992, when Pat Buchanan ran against then-President George H.W. Bush.

Weld’s speech Friday was critical of Trump, describing the president as a “schoolyard bully” who put the country in “grave peril.”

“I encourage those of you who are watching the current administration nervously but are saying nothing to stand up and speak out when lines are crossed in dangerous ways,” he said.

GOP not thrilled

As some might guess, not every Republican is welcoming Weld back into the fold. In fact,

newly-elected MassGOP Chair Jim Lyons ripped the former governor.

“Weld is the same ex-Republican who deserted Massachusetts for New York; who endorsed President Barack Obama over Senator John McCain for President; who renounced the GOP for the Libertarian Party; who ran against the Trump-Pence Republican ticket in 2016, while cozying up to Democrat Hillary Clinton,” Lyons said in a statement. “After abandoning Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, Weld demands that faithful Republicans consider…

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