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Bill Weld


Resignation and nomination as U.S. ambassador to Mexico (? - Present)

Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 (? - Present)

Weld in the news

July 12, 2019: Weld discussed Robert Mueller’s potential testimony in an interview on CNN.

July 3, 2019: The Weld campaign announced that it had raised $688,000 in the second quarter of 2019 from 7,000 donors.

July 1, 2019: Weld discussed foreign policy on MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber.

June 27, 2019: Weld tweeted that he was looking forward to debating Donald Trump (R). No incumbent president has participated in a primary debate and the Republican National Committee disbanded the party's debate committee in 2018.

June 25, 2019: Weld appeared in an interview on Concord News Radio in New Hampshire.

Policy Positions



How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?

- China’s behavior should be a wake-up call for the United States, its allies, friends, and partners. While the United States can and must do business with China, it can have no illusions about the type of state China is and about its ambitions. It also needs to be clear that it will not accept China continuing to follow the old line, “we’re big, you’re small. What don’t you understand?” It is not acceptable in the 21st century.

China should have no doubt that the world knows what it is doing, and is watching. China promised the peoples of Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the world, at the 1997 handover ceremony which I attended in Hong Kong, that there would be and could be two systems in a single country. If China takes a punitive approach, China will demonstrate that its political word is suspect. The implications for Taiwan, a real Chinese democracy, are ominous. The United States must be prepared to help those who face persecution or who escape, including with asylum.

The United States must publicly stand by its friends and allies in Asia. While we will not intervene in China’s domestic affairs, we will not hesitate to defend our rights and discharge our responsibilities in the region.


Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?

- I thought that Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA was a colossal blunder. We had a ten-year period during which Iran would not advance its nuclear weapons program, and they were in compliance. I would rejoin the JCPOA without changes to the written agreement.

North Korea

Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?

- “Partial” and “some” imply matters of degree, but yes, I think a partial dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is a development worth promoting, and of course such an agreement might prove to be the first step to a fuller resolution.


What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?

- Ukraine, while not a NATO member, is an EU partner and a treaty-recognized buffer zone between Russia and NATO.

Ukraine is also a sizeable population and economic zone whose seizure would be a major first step toward reconstituting the old Soviet Union’s borders and corresponding influence – for Putin, both an ex-KGB man (and there famously is no “ex”) and an old-school Russian nationalist, it is therefore a major opportunity if it could be seized intact.

Conversely, Ukraine has shown itself willing to fight and take losses in blood and treasure – it would be a mistake to dis-incentivize this, and it would be a mistake to let this first line of defense be overrun.

Allowing Ukraine to fall would effectively “Finlandize” Europe, to the extent it has not already been. It would call into question the U.S.’ willingness to assist in the defense of Europe’s eastern frontier. It would undermine further the EU’s credibility as a guarantor of Europe’s security. It would further break European unity and allow Putin to play European states off each other politically. And all this, in turn, would further hollow out NATO and the U.S.’ partnership with Europe, effectively convincing European states – and not just the ones on the eastern edge – to make their terms with Russia.

Accordingly, I would provide military aid to Ukraine – as much as was necessary. I would make it clear that if the Ukrainians wanted to defend their territory, we would help, and further incursions would be costly. I would continue to hold exercises in Eastern Europe and look at ways to defend the Baltics. I would reach out to Belarus to dissuade it from cooperating with Putin, which would be catastrophic for Polish, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian security.


Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?

- Yes, I would carry that out in my first year in office. Delay would beget more delay. The question “If not now, when?” is a legitimate one. We need to stop having our troops be sitting duck nation-builders. To that end, we need to draw down the last of our forces there, with an arrangement to support the people on the ground (e.g. interpreters) who have worked with us.

Saudi Arabia

Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?

- Business as usual with Saudi Arabia has to be over. The country has been supporting militant Salafists who have been trying to kill us – and succeeded on 9/11 and a host of other places – for decades now. We need to stand against aggression, no matter who engages in it, and rally support for that position. The peace of the world depends on our doing so.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?

- The question suggests outsiders can “solve” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to come to an arrangement, and for us to support their efforts. If there is a deal to be made that’s acceptable to both, we should get behind it, but the timing for further negotiations is going to have to be driven by events and by the parties themselves.

Having said all that, I am personally very much in favor of a two-state solution, and I believe, as my friend Shimon Peres always maintained, that multi-state economic development projects and trade are the sinews of peace.


What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?

- We have to go through Cuba, China and Russia to rationalize the situation in Venezuela. Most of the top decision makers there are Cuban, which has hollowed out Venezuela’s government, and the spillover into our ally Colombia has been dramatic. I would propose multi-party talks, in which the dynamic new President Duque of Colombia, who greatly impressed me recently in Cartagena, could perhaps play a role.


By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?

- We should be thrilled that a continent that was historically underdeveloped and a playground for outside powers is finally growing in wealth as well as population and able to make its voice heard on the world stage. And we should be forging relationships with African countries to support democracy, the rule of law, and prosperity. In some countries, the Catholic Church could be helpful to our efforts.

Right now we are getting our brains beat in by China in courting African nations, because we simply don’t make it a high enough priority. In my Administration, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs would have my ear.

On security matters, we and our allies need to continue to help Africa fight terrorists. Al Qaeda offshoots pose a threat to the entire continent, not just the sub-Sahara.


Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

- I stand for free trade. Withdrawing from TPP, like ripping up NAFTA, was a huge mistake by the President. As Benjamin Franklin said, Americans are traders and never went broke from engaging in international trade. Every U.S. governor knows international trade means more and better jobs for Americans. We therefore should rejoin TPP, now CPTPP. In addition, of course, there is an important strategic reason for doing so: a 12-nation beachhead in Asia without China at the table. (During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump was seemingly unaware that China was not to be a member of TPP.)


How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?

- Dealing with climate and carbon emissions will be at the top of my list. I think, though, that often when developing countries are pursuing coal power, they are doing so for lack of a viable alternative. As a next-worst measure, we should be looking into ways to provide access for them to cleaner and more carbon-efficient natural gas, as well as renewable energy development and civilian nuclear power plants.

U.S. Foreign Policy

What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?

- he greatest foreign policy accomplishment was the peaceful and successful end of the Cold War. That was a world-historical achievement. The biggest mistake we have made since then was to behave as if other countries do not matter. As a result, we have wasted the opportunity to build a really inclusive, stable peace. And, of course, under Mr. Trump we have run up the national debt in an unconscionable fashion, and isolated ourselves from our close allies, friends, and partners to the advantage of those who wish our country ill.

Joey Johnson endorsed

What Past Also-Rans Can Teach GOP Challengers to Trump

Sep. 16, 2019

When the results were finally in, when there was no more hope, agents from his Secret Service detail took him away. They sent him into surgery. “I didn’t drop out until after the California primary, and then I went right to the hospital because I was going to have open-heart surgery,” remembers Pat Buchanan, the 80-year-old conservative who pioneered “pitchfork populism” nearly three decades ago. Buchanan brought that pointy farm tool right up on stage, campaigned on a motto of “America First,” and scared the hell out of an incumbent U.S. president from his own party. Then the heart valve started leaking, and then the votes stopped coming, and then the insurgency started crumbling. But the heart didn’t cost him, Buchanan tells RealClearPolitics. No, he knew all along that it was “a bit of a problem” and credits the medical diagnosis as motivation, not a detriment. The real trouble was “that party nonsense that kept us off the ballot in South Dakota.” It was June of 1992 when Buchanan came to after surgery. Ronald Reagan, his old boss, called to cheer him up. George H.W. Bush, his old friend, did not. Maybe that was because Buchanan, a grizzled White House veteran of two Republican administrations and prominent conservative columnist -- and also the recipient of a new artificial heart valve -- had tried knocking him off. Running for president is hard. Dethroning a sitting president in the primaries is almost impossible. Plenty have tried. All have failed. So why do so many keep taking the leap when history says they will lose? The list now includes former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, former Chicago radio show host (and one-term congressman) Joe Walsh, and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Each is lining up for a chance to compete for the 2020 GOP nomination in an environment in which 88% of the party faithful back President Trump. Those party faithful seem to care less about tweet outbursts and controversies and more about tax cuts and judicial appointees. Still, the current crop of challengers is looking to the template laid down by Buchanan and two other presidential long shots who spoke with RealClearPolitics. Pat Buchanan jumped Bush when the 41st president was stumbling. As a recession loomed and taxes increased, his poll numbers tumbled from a post-Persian Gulf War high in the upper 80s to a low in the 40s. “There was a real vacuum and dissatisfaction among those on the Reagan Right,” Buchanan recalled, and so the old Nixon operative entered the primary and headed to New Hampshire. He organized his campaign “like a little Indian raiding party” to make the most of limited resources and to turn the screws on Bush for “all these new regulations and all this new spending." “And my ambition was basically this: to do exceedingly well in New Hampshire, then defeat the president in one or two primaries, so that Bush – who, there was talk that he wouldn’t run again and his wife didn’t want him to run again -- would have a difficult time getting reelected,” he said. It worked, at least for a little while. After Buchanan finished second with 38% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, The Manchester Union Leader turned Bush’s 1988 campaign promise on its head. The front page declared: “Read Our Lips!” Buchanan would not follow up that headline-inspiring second-place finish with another strong showing in South Dakota. Party machinery kept his name off the ballot. Momentum lost was never regained after the insurgent missed what was then the second-in-the nation primary. Then it was over. “We pretty much got wiped out on Super Tuesday. You realized you just couldn’t do it,” Buchanan says. But could someone else do it? “We are going to find out, aren’t we?” he laughs. “To make a serious run against the president of the United States, all the stars have to be in alignment, and I doubt if you can do that again,” Buchanan muses. The “also-ran” subset of presidential primary challengers includes some prominent names. Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t win this way, he notes, and neither could Ronald Reagan — which “isn’t bad company to be in.”  After his bulldozing, Buchanan’s populist ideals remained mostly buried. Decades later, another candidate unearthed his “America First” mantra with more success. Reagan didn’t have to wait that long. The California governor and anti-communist crusader mounted his first bid for the presidency in 1976 when the country was buying pet rocks and sporting polyester suits. “It just really sucked,” remembers Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. “America couldn’t get anything going; nothing seemed to work.” A nationally recognized name with clean hands post-Watergate, “Reagan steps into this and says, ‘Something needs to be done; the status quo is no longer acceptable,’” Shirley tells RCP. His pitch was simple and, at that time, still new: “Government is not the answer to your problems; the answer is to take power and give it back to the individual because you know best.” It was a message salient enough among the GOP base to force a fight at the convention. It was not, however, enough to win, even for a candidate as charismatic as Reagan. According to Shirley, who would later work to elect the California Republican in 1980, the enduring lesson is that “naked inside power will always beat outside political power.” While the goal was the White House, even in defeat the conservative did get one thing: a speech at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Miss. A monotone President Gerald Ford invited his challenger to the podium to make his concession. A vibrant Reagan dazzled with a seemingly impromptu speech. Less than six minutes later, the crowd was enraptured, and one woman was reported to gasp, “My God, we’ve nominated the wrong man.” “Hearts are with Reagan,” blared a headline in The Missouri Times the next day, summing up reaction to the speech of the also-ran. More than four decades later, Shirley now notes that “by running in 1976, Reagan was running to the right and pulling the Republican Party to the right with him.” By 1980, he had perfected his message and won. McMullin’s Gambit The current crop of candidates hopes to be so fortunate. Though they will be competing in the primary, instead of running as third-party options in the general election, their fates seem more likely to follow that of the last candidate who tried to take on Trump from the right. Evan McMullin just wanted to make a point. With a resume that included stints at the CIA and as a congressional staffer, the then-40-year-old congressional staffer enlisted in the Never Trump movement early on and tried to find someone, anyone, who would take on the nominee. Finding no takers, McMullin entered the race himself as a third-party candidate, mostly by campaigning on the cable news circuit. For a while the strategy was to deny both Trump and Hillary Clinton the votes they needed in the Electoral College. The Utah native believed that if he could win just enough votes in his Mormon-heavy state to force the race into the House of Representatives, there would be a sort of modern replay of the “Corrupt Bargain” that made John Quincy Adams the sixth president. This, of course, never came close to happening. The more basic goal, McMullin tells RCP three years removed, was “defending our core principles,” a grab-bag phrase that he used repeatedly. “I thought Trump was clearly an aspiring strongman, demagogue, and a politician who rejected conservative and American values to empower himself. I knew that was dangerous for the country,” McMullin says. “So, I felt that on the most basic level, someone had to stand up and defend those principles.” This meant starting a campaign without much of a budget and with a candidate unknown outside of Beltway happy hours. Challenging Trump from the right, McMullin argues, was important enough to risk making Hillary Clinton president. In his telling, putting a Clinton in the White House for a third term might not have been so bad. Had things gone differently, had his campaign denied Trump the presidency, McMullin envisions a stronger Republican Party emerging from the ashes after four years. “We might have had, say, a Paul Ryan or a Marco Rubio in their pre-Trump form as president with a strengthened, a healthier party for the long term,” he muses. Eliciting a Kinder, Gentler Trump? Trying to convert a septuagenarian with a Twitter habit into a genteel country club Republican won’t be easy. But it is not out of the realm of possibility, according to Never Trump godfather Bill Kristol, who has that goal in mind. Kristol has huddled with some of the aspiring Trump challengers, mostly recently breakfasting with Joe Walsh in Washington, D.C. He drafted McMullin in 2016, and now looks for another champion ahead of 2020. Part of it is ideological, an effort to defend principles when the post-Trump era eventually dawns. “For me it is really important to hold the flag aloft,” Kristol says. “You don’t know how many people you are going to speak to, but a presidential challenge has the ability to reach a lot of people. I mean it’s more than writing an op-ed or tweeting.” Part of it is corrective, as McMullin says: redemption according to old school Republican canon. Voters could always oppose Trump in the primary, Kristol notes, and then vote for him in the general: “If they want to send a signal, even to Trump, that he should moderate his ways a little, well, the best way to do it is the primary vote. He can come back and win them back for the general especially if he shows that he’s listening a little bit to what they are saying.” In short, winning isn’t the only goal. Jill Stein seems to be of this opinion. The perennial candidate for the Green Party tells RCP that a third-party challenge doesn’t just protest the duopoly of the current political system, it also breaks through the partisan infrastructure to introduce new ideas into the political bloodstream. “Do third party challenges change things? They certainly do. It is not only our Green New Deal that has been adopted,” she says before complaining about how the Democratic National Committee only pays lip service to the idea. Instead, she continues, “it is more the candidates that are claiming the progressive mantle and promoting it.” But the GOP challengers waiting in the wings may be ill-suited to this task, even if their own definitions of success are not outright victory. None has the following that Reagan enjoyed ahead of 1976; he was widely considered a national conservative thought leader at the time. None has the opportunity that Buchanan exploited either; Trump has weathered his share of bad polling but nothing like what confronted Bush in 1992. Instead, they have Trump himself. Asked what his pitch is apart from assailing the personality of the president, Joe Walsh laughed: “It is a great question and the only reason I’m laughing – I’m not laughing at your question — it’s just kind of weird. I’m doing this because I think he is a clear and present danger. It is a referendum on him.” The Republican National Committee is intent that a referendum never happens and has taken steps to close primaries before challengers can enter. But with unclear goals and history against them, it seems more than unlikely that any of those Republicans aspiring to the presidency can do much to change the 2020 landscape. On top of extraordinary good luck, candidates would have to rival the appeal of Teddy Roosevelt or Pat Buchanan or Ronald Reagan to even make a dent. Shirley, the presidential biographer, is currently unimpressed. All may have good hearts, unlike Buchanan. But none, he says, “could hold Reagan’s jockstrap.” Source:

Bill Weld makes his case to voters as alternative to President Trump

Jul. 18, 2019

PORTSMOUTH, NH- July 18, 2019: 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) By LISA KASHINSKY | 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.”  

Bill Weld meets with New Hampshire voters Thursday

Jul. 18, 2019

DERRY, N.H. — Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld made stops in New Hampshire on Thursday. Weld spoke to a crowd in Derry about health care, the economy and climate change. The only Republican challenger to President Donald Trump so far, Weld said he shares the same concerns as voters. “I think the voters in Derry showed they are very serious about the problems of climate change, the deficit, all the things I'm worried about, work education and getting the job done in Washington,” he said. “I was impressed with the crowd here.” Weld also visited Portsmouth on Thursday.