Republican presidential hopeful Bill Weld stops by Vermont

Published: Oct. 18, 2019 at 12:10 AM EDT
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The many Democrats for president are filing through New Hampshire ahead of the primary, but one of President Trump's Republican opponents is hitting up Vermont.

The Washington County GOP hosted candidate Bill Weld Thursday. The former Massachusetts governor stopped in Barre hoping that his moderate Republican views will connect with Vermonters.

"I think we are in troubled times right now," Weld said. "I wouldn't be doing this if it was 2017 and we didn't know how Mr. Trump would comport himself in office -- now we know, as they say."

Weld is also calling for Trump's impeachment, citing his Justice Department experience and involvement in the impeachments of Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

Weld spoke to a crowd of about 30 at the monthly Washington County Republican Committee meeting. He is campaigning on positions such as reversing the trillion-dollar deficit, rejoining the Paris Agreement to fight climate change and improving relationships with foreign allies.

"I think we need to get away from playing up to dictators and trashing our allies which is a fair description of what the Trump doctrine has been," Weld said.

He says his past work and experience in office make him ready.

"I was semi-famous for reaching across the aisle as governor of Massachusetts," Weld said. "I would like to bring that point of view to Washington."

In the 2016 presidential election, Weld left the Republican Party to become the Libertarian Party running mate of former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. Now, Weld calls himself a New England Republican and says he's fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It's why he is spending time in Vermont, where Democrats are allowed to vote in the Republican primary.

"There is some division in the party, for sure," said Josh Fitzhugh, the chair of the Washington County Republican Committee.

He says the goal of having Weld in town is to educate people about every candidate.

"Just educate people, keep an open mind. Just cause someone has an office doesn't mean it's guaranteed they have an office," Fitzhugh said.

At 74, Weld says he is ready for the challenge.

"Political campaigning has a huge shot of adrenaline, so energy is not a problem," he said.

As Weld continues on the campaign trail, he says he plans to stop back in Vermont as well as the other states in New England.

Vermont GOP Party officials emphasized that they played no role in inviting Weld. They officially support President Trump in 2020.

Weld is one of three GOP candidates taking on Trump. The others include Mark Sanford, a former congressman and governor from South Carolina; and Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and former congressman from Illinois.

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