Is Bill Weld a Stalking-Horse for Romney in 2020?

Is Bill Weld a Stalking-Horse for Romney in 2020?
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Is Bill Weld a Stalking-Horse for Romney in 2020?
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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Does anyone really believe former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld just happened to launch a primary challenge to President Trump on his own?

Weld, who ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 2016, announced last week that he has formed an exploratory committee to run as a Republican in 2020. Of course, Weld could just be delusional. He may really think that Republicans are desperate for a Massachusetts liberal to make a bid to unseat the first truly conservative president in 30 years -- or just maybe he doesn't care about being president at all. Maybe he thinks he has a higher calling -- or a "higher loyalty" as that other turncoat James Comey put it -- and that he would be serving his country by weakening the president in order to assure a Democratic victory in 2020.

Or he could be doing the bidding of powerful forces in the Republican Party who hold similar views, but don’t want blood on their hands.

Byron York had a piece out last week that suggests Never Trumpers face a dilemma because a primary challenge to the president might very well result in a socialist in the White House. But that assumes the Never Trumpers are true conservatives. No one could say that about Weld, who would be running far to the left of Trump. Honestly, I don't think Weld would pose any kind of serious danger to the president, and it might be amusing watching Trump turn Weld into a human piñata, but remember that the Fake News Media would be giving Weld the full "he's our guy" treatment, turning him into the second coming of St. McCain. So if Weld got 90 percent positive press coverage and Trump continued to garner his usual 93 percent negative coverage, who knows how much damage Weld could do.

Campaigning in New Hampshire recently, he said that Trump is “simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office — which include the specific duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — in a competent and professional matter.” Echoes of the McCabe-Rosenstein 25th Amendment putsch there, don’t you think? Or for that matter, echoes of another former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, who began his Senate career with a New Year’s Day op-ed in the Washington Post that questioned Trump’s character and capacity. Thought by some to be Romney’s trial balloon for his own primary challenge of the president, it instead turned out to be a death warrant for Romney’s political future outside the comforting confines of Utah.

But let’s face it. The prospect of Romney running for president just weeks after taking office as senator (and with the generous endorsement of Trump) was a bit unseemly, but not impossible for someone as politically tone deaf as he has always proven to be. So if Romney still believes America can’t live without him, I find it entirely plausible that he could support a Eugene McCarthy-like insurgent candidacy to wound President Trump and take him out of the picture in 2020.

Enter William Weld — the one-time GOP governor and most recently Libertarian running mate to Gary Johnson in 2016. How convenient for Romney that another liberal Massachusetts Republican has decided to nip at Trump’s heels for the next year or so, by which time it would be less unseemly for the first-term senator to take a stab at Trump (et tu, Mittens?)

Of course, there is a chance that Weld is really gaming the system for his own benefit, and plans to use his windmill-tilt of a GOP candidacy to build up enthusiasm for another run on the Libertarian ticket, this time on the top end. (Will Gary Johnson repay the favor and play second fiddle this time around? Enquiring minds want to know!)

“We cannot sit passively as our precious democracy slips quietly into darkness,” Weld told a New Hampshire audience, this time echoing Jeff Bezos’ pretentious Washington Post slogan. Heck, Weld is so far left as a Republican that he may actually be running just to position Romney as a level-headed centrist.

Actual collusion between Weld and Romney? No more likely than the chance of collusion between a capitalist American billionaire running for president and the Russian strongman, but who knows? Maybe we should put Weld and Romney under oath and get to the bottom of this attempt to undermine democracy (which dies in darkness, let’s not forget).

Speaking of the fake Russian dossier, maybe we should swear in former FBI director James Comey, too. Although Comey said he would never run for elected office, let alone president, we all know that his “higher calling” includes a tendency to prevaricate when convenient, especially when talking to the press or Congress.

If Weld is not a stalking-horse for a Romney candidacy, I am putting a side bet on Comey as the next most likely candidate for electoral collusion. When Comey was a young attorney working for the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the now infamous Southern District of New York, his boss was none other than Bill Weld, who served as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department from 1986-1988.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Southern District is reportedly preparing several criminal cases against the Trump Organization and/or members of the Trump family. When Weld eventually drops his quixotic candidacy and Romney decides he doesn’t want to be the most hated man in America, imagine the excitement when High Horse Comey is drafted by the Republicans to rescue them from themselves! Finally, an election conspiracy that actually pays off — in his dreams!

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His "Why We Needed Trump" trilogy is available at Amazon. Visit him at to comment on this column or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter @HeartlandDiary.

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