Bill Weld Calls Donald Trump A RINO

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According to former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, President Donald Trump is a RINO – meaning a Republican In Name Only.

The Republican primary challenger to the president took his pitch to UMass Boston on Monday evening for a town hall-style event where he spoke and fielded questions from college students.

During the event, Weld spoke about issues he felt are important to younger voters including climate change, the national debt, automation, bipartisanship, and mobile voting (with iris/thumbprint recognition), among other issues.

Weld, who endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, touted himself as an “economic conservative” and ripped Trump because he thinks the president isn’t one.

“I delight in when the defenders of the president say that I’m a Republican in name only because then I get to come back and say, ‘No, no. The President is the Republican in name only because he’s not an economic conservative.’ At which point, the conversation ends,” Weld said.

Weld called Trump a “wannabe dictator.”

In the past, including at an event in Gloucester last month that New Boston Post covered, Weld has compared Trump to fascists like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

Following the event Monday night, New Boston Post asked Weld if he thinks Trump has fascist tendencies.

“Well, I do,” he said, “but underneath it all, I think he is a New York Palm Beach playboy and he’d be willing to sacrifice political goals if he could just have that self-serving hedonistic life again.”

He also told New Boston Post that he thinks Trump would have run for president as a Democrat if the opportunity presented itself.

“He’s given thousands and thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton and every supremely liberal Democrat you can think of,” he said. “He’s a New York City Democrat.”

During the event, Weld offered his share of criticisms for the modern Republican Party at the federal level, although he said there are Republicans like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who he is happy with.

One issue Weld ripped Republicans for was their anti-abortion views.

“They should be unpopular with women,” he told the audience, referring to the GOP. “The recent statutes that were passed in the South and the Midwest regarding reproductive rights were a complete disgrace.”

“They’re saying we want a bunch of male congressmen that live 2,200 miles away to make a decision for you the woman as to whether or not you’re going to have a child,” he added. “It’s only the most important decision you’ll ever have to make.”

According to a 2019 Gallup poll, a higher percentage of women (51 percent) consider themselves pro-life on abortion than men (48 percent).

During the event, Weld also said he would declare a national emergency on climate change on his first day in office if elected president. He said he would then implement a carbon tax of $40 to $50 a ton. He said he would aim to stop coal and oil companies from emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

“At a certain point that will cause them to say, ‘Ouch! I don’t want to put any more carbon,” he said. “That will mean the polar ice caps will not melt. It’s well within the president’s executive authority to do.”

Weld is on the ballot in 14 states on Super Tuesday, which is Tuesday, March 3. Weld sees three states where he anticipates he will perform best:  Massachusetts, Vermont, and Utah.

In Massachusetts, Weld earned 70.9 percent of the vote in his gubernatorial re-election bid in 1994. He resigned as governor in 1997, which is also the last time he held elected office.

In Vermont, Weld received an endorsement from Governor Phil Scott.

Vermont allows Democrats and independents to vote in its Republican primaries, comparable to the way Massachusetts allows unenrolled voters to choose whichever party’s ballot they want. It’s unclear how many Democrats in Vermont will choose a Republican ballot while the Democratic race is still competitive and includes Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Utah in 2018 elected to the U.S. Senate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the only Republican who voted during the recent impeachment proceedings to remove Trump from office.

New Boston Post asked Weld to guess at how well he’ll do in the states he is targeting. Weld did not offer an exact figure.

“It’s all a matter of degree,” he told New Boston Post in an interview after the event on Monday, February 24. “We don’t know what the percentages will be, but we hope they keep going up.”

Weld received 9 percent of the vote in neighboring New Hampshire’s primary on February 11.