Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld came to the Flag Room in the Young Student Center on Tuesday, September 10. One of the lone challengers to President Donald Trump in the Republican Party, Weld gave a brief speech outlining his political experience and his working platform, followed by a lengthy question and answer session.
Weld was introduced by president of the KSC Republicans Johnny Iacobucci. Weld started off saying that he would give a short speech because he knew it was late and the audience’s attention span was short. He talked about his extensive executive political experience, including time in Washington D.C under three different presidents. Weld served as the U.S. Attorney General under Ronald Reagan from 1986-1988, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1981-1986 and Governor of Massachusetts from 1991-1997. Additionally, Weld was nominated as an ambassador to Mexico under Bill Clinton.
Throughout his speech Weld repeatedly noted that while he is running as a Republican, he considers himself to be very liberal on a lot of issues. “I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” Weld said.
Climate change was the first issue he discussed in Weld’s speech. Unlike many Republican candidates over the years, Weld not only believes that climate change is a scientific reality; he also believes that fighting the effects must be a national priority. Weld said that President Trump is not doing enough to combat the effects of climate change and that the president’s approach to the matter is “fundamentally irresponsible.”
Weld also discussed his support for the LGBT community that dates back to the early nineties, before this was a common attitude in either party. Weld said that transgender people had not entered the mainstream conscience when he began his political career, but he supports transgender people just as much as he supported gay people. Weld was also an early supporter of legalizing medical marijuana, a stance that alienated him from many members of his own party.
Weld is fiercly pro-choice, another attitude differentiating him from other members of the Republican Party. “The recent laws passed in the south, cheered by Mr. Trump, are beyond anything I could ever conceive of,” Weld said. Weld said that these laws were something from the dark ages.
Weld also believes that the immigration policies of the Trump administration are overly draconian, he believes that diversity is what makes America truly great. “You look at the teams competing in the Olympics, the Ethiopians look like Ethiopians, the Italians look like Italians, the Americans look like everybody. I consider that to be a badge of honor,” Weld said.
Weld consistently criticized Trump throughout his speech, comparing the president to Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Weld condemned what he feels is a strategy used by Trump and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, to spread fear and hate in order to divide the American people. Weld continued to rail against the President and commented about fellow Republicans not standing up to the Commander in Chief. “Nobody wants to say that the Emperor has no clothes. Well, I’m here to tell you that the Emperor has no clothes,” Weld said.
Weld’s strategy is to initially focus on swing states and red states that lean libertarian in order to build momentum against Trump before shifting his campaign’s focus to deep red states.
Weld discussed the cancellation of primaries in South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada, a move that Weld feels is designed to help Trump win the election.. Weld stated that he believes the Republican Party knows Trump is unable to win an open election, so they are trying to minimize the opportunities for people to vote against him. Weld said his campaign does not have the resources to fight this battle in the legal system, but his campaign will use this as propaganda to prove to voters that Trump is not unbeatable and that other candidates can have a strong chance at beating him.
Iacobucci was unavailable for interview.
Alex Harvey can be