Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld slammed President Donald Trump in a new interview Monday after forming an exploratory committee for a possible bid to challenge the president for the Republican Party’s nomination in 2020.
Weld couldn’t pinpoint a single moment when he decided to consider a run against Trump, but he expressed concern with the president’s 2017 closed-door Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, where the president allegedly leaked classified information to the Russians.
“That showed contempt for the American people, if anything I’ve ever seen does,” Weld told CNN of Trump’s decision to exclude U.S. press from the meeting while the Russian state-owned TASS news agency was allowed to photograph the meeting.
“It just gets worse and worse,” Weld said.
Watch the video below, via CNN:
Former Republican Gov. Bill Weld may run against Trump in 2020: "It troubles me that abroad he seeks out the company of people who are dictators and despots." pic.twitter.com/8vijKftYl7
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 18, 2019
The former Massachusetts governor and 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate explained that he was “troubled” by the president’s lack of curiosity around world events and history, and he took issue with some of the world leaders that the president chooses to engage with.
“Abroad, he seeks out the company of people who are dictators and despots,” Weld said. “People like Vladimir Putin, like President Kim of North Korea.”
Weld called Trump’s often effusive praise of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un “mob talk,” joking that he was familiar with the style from his time working in the Department of Justice.
Domestically, Weld said Trump’s mannerisms aren’t too different from his style on the world stage:
“I do think the president has shown a tendency to associate with autocrats. I think his domestic instincts are in the same direction. I recall him saying on television, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to have elections?’ I’m sure he will say that was a joke — I’m not so sure it was a joke. I mean, the response to my announcement of an exploratory committee has been for everybody to close ranks among the state Republican Party’s and say, ‘No, we can’t have a primary.”
“And the truth is — if the president had his first choice — he wouldn’t have a primary, and he wouldn’t have an election,” Weld added.