One Republican joined more than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates in speaking at the Iowa State Fair this weekend. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld took his 20 minutes of time at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, and said he’s running for president because he’s troubled by Donald Trump’s presidency, and thinks Trump is a Republican in name only.
“Because he’s not a fiscal conservative,” Weld said. “He doesn’t believe in conserving the environment. He doesn’t believe in free trade. He doesn’t believe in all the things that the real Republican Party used to stand for, so I’m unapologetic about challenging him here because I don’t think he’s a real Republican.”
Weld says he’d take the same approach to cutting the federal budget that he took as Massachusetts governor in the ‘90s: “zero-based budgeting,” in which all spending must be justified each year. He said he regularly cut the budget in Massachusetts, and has watched deficit spending continue during the Trump administration.
Weld told the several dozen fairgoers who gathered in a light rain that the country is at what he called an “inflection point.”
“And I think the most urgent duty facing the next president is to seek to seek to unify the country as opposed to dividing it,” he said.
Weld faces long odds in his attempt to take the party nomination away from Trump. A recent Gallup poll suggested nearly nine out of 10 Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing. A sitting president has only once been denied his party’s nomination in a bid for reelection: Democrat Franklin Pierce was elected in 1952, but the party chose to nominate James Garfield over him in 1856.