Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld said he urged his friend Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, to run for president on the 2020 Libertarian ticket.
Weld ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, and this election year is challenging President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president. Weld told WGBH News he met with Chafee, who filed to run for president on Sunday, in his Boston office in December to discuss the prospect of Chafee running.
“I encouraged him in his thought to try the Libertarian Party," Weld said. "I’m the guy who said at the Republican National Convention in Houston [in 1992] that my platform is: I want the government out of our pocketbook and out of your bedroom, and that remains my platform. And that’s kind of Linc Chafee's platform as well.”
Michigan U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, an Independent who was formerly a registered Republican and who broke with Trump during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, is also considering running on the Libertarian ticket. Weld said Americans welcome the Libertarian entry into the presidential race.
“Something has to be done to break up the poisonous death spiral embrace of the two major parties in Washington D.C. I think that may not be long in coming, because if the Republican Party in Washington doesn’t change its stripes, it’s not going to be around in the current form after the 2020 elections,” Weld said.
Weld, who is waging an uphill — some would say impossible — struggle to unseat the incumbent president, said he is a committed Republican and refuses to accept that the GOP is irredeemably the Party of Trump.
“The reason I am running for president, among other things, is to raise high the standard of the Republican Party, of which I’ve been familiar since I was 18 years old. I am now the alternative in the Republican Primary in terms of being on ballots throughout the country,” he said.
Not everywhere. Weld complained that Trump campaign officials are working to keep his name off the Wisconsin Republican primary ballot and other primary state ballots nationwide. Weld’s lawyers are challenging the primary ballot blockades in court.
Weld said that Trump is making the world a more dangerous place to live, citing the president’s denial of climate change "while Australia burns," his coming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate and the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
“I’m familiar with the track record of Soleimani. You know, I hate to say it, I think we’re well rid of him,” Weld said.
But Weld said Trump’s decision-making is impulsive, erratic and dangerous.
“He’s just doing what suits his fancy at the moment and he doesn’t have the background for that," he said. "The man is massively ignorant — there’s no other word for it — about foreign policy and international relations.”
Weld said the president risked a major conflagration with Iran that could "lead to World War Three." He said this is the most compelling reason for why he is running to unseat Trump.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Rep. Justin Amash was running for president as a Libertarian. Amash has not declared a candidacy. We regret the error.