Bill Weld

Former governor of Massachusetts
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Bill Weld dropped out of the presidential race on March 18, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Weld was the first candidate to announce he was challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, saying he would “fear for the Republic” if the President were reelected. Weld was the vice presidential nominee on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016.
Harvard College, B.A., 1966; Harvard Law, JD, 1970
July 31, 1945
Leslie Marshall; divorced from Susan Roosevelt Weld
David, Ethel, Mary, Quentin and Frances
Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997;
Assistant attorney general, 1986-1988;
US attorney for District of Massachusetts, 1981-1986;
Staffer, House Judiciary Committee, 1973-1974


Bill Weld ends Republican presidential campaign
Updated 4:05 PM ET, Wed Mar 18, 2020
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld ended his Republican presidential campaign on Wednesday after President Donald Trump won enough delegates to win the 2020 Republican nomination. "I have decided to suspend my candidacy for President of the United States, effective immediately," Weld said in an email to supporters. Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race The former Massachusetts governor was the first candidate to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. Weld told CNN's Jake Tapper in April he would "fear for the Republic" if the President were reelected.  "Leading this movement is one of the greatest honors of my life, and I will always be indebted to all who have played a part," he said Wednesday. "But while I am suspending my candidacy," Weld continued, "I want to be clear that I am not suspending my commitment to the nation and to the democratic institutions that set us apart." Weld's long-shot bid was at one point focused on winning over moderate Republicans in New Hampshire. Trump won the New Hampshire primary in February with 85.7% of the vote, compared to Weld's 9.2%. Weld had some national name recognition from when he was the vice presidential nominee on the Libertarian ticket in 2016 with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. He was governor of New Hampshire's neighbor, Massachusetts, from 1991 to 1997, and won reelection there with more than 70% of the vote. Weld is a fierce critic of Trump, and, last April, he called for the President to resign. Weld wrote in an op-ed that Trump's "rampant dishonesty and paranoia render him incapable of serving as president." "It's time to plant a flag," Weld told CNN in a phone interview in the fall about why he launched a presidential bid. "Otherwise I'm right there with everyone else saying, 'Gee, I love the emperor's new clothes.' This emperor doesn't have any new clothes." Weld ran for Senate in Massachusetts in 1996, losing to John Kerry. He later moved to New York and in 2005 unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination there for governor. This story has been updated with more information about Weld's run and background.


climate crisis
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Weld told Hill.TV in November 2019: “What we have to do is keep Earth temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees between now and 2050, and the way you do that is by putting a price on carbon, an upstream price at the well head at the mine shaft and then people can make their own decisions about how much carbon they want to emit into the atmosphere.” He said: “It’s not a command and control situation. We’re not telling people what to do, they make their own decisions, and that’s letting the market decide about carbon, it’s a much more powerful engine than just saying I’m going to spend $10 trillion to promote clean energy. You don’t know if you’re going to get there.” He said in an interview with Journal Review that the US should rejoin the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has abandoned.
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Weld says his top priority on day one if he is elected is to file legislation to cut spending. According to his campaign website, he also wants to increase technical education and help workers who lose their jobs to automation by making community college and online tuition available to them. Weld said he would work with Congress to end “corporate welfare.” He would also audit the Federal Reserve and work to pass a balanced budget amendment. Weld tweeted in February 2019: “In the federal budget, the two most important tasks are to cut spending and to cut taxes – and spending comes first. We need to ‘zero base’ the federal budget, basing each appropriation on outcomes actually achieved, not on last year’s appropriation plus 5%.”
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Weld proposes that two years of community college and the last two years of tuition at state colleges or universities should be free. He said his administration would review the federal loan process to make sure students aren’t loaned amounts they won’t be able to pay off. He says Congress should get rid of the provision that does not allow student debt to be renegotiated. He said he would prioritize reducing the interest rate on federal student loans and would extend scholarships for vocational training. Weld delivered a speech in February 2019 in which he said, according to “Parents need more options regarding the education of their children. We need to support school choice. We need to support home schooling. We need to support charter schools. And we need to consider abolishing the US Department of Education, transferring decision-making authority to the states and the parents of school-age and college-age children.”
gun violence
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Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review that in order to combat gun violence, “I don’t think we want to focus on gun ownership. I do think that the 300 million rifles in private hands, lawfully acquired, constitutes a bulwark against a government overreaching. The real reason for the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, in my judgment, is not so people can go hunting. It’s really so people will have the guns in self-defense. … All guns are dangerous, and to address the school shootings and terrible mass murders, one obvious thing is to do everything possible to keep firearms — of any sort — out of the hands of people who are unstable and have any history of mental illness.”
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Weld proposes amending and building upon certain features of the Affordable Care Act. He also wants to bring back low-cost health insurance plans. He plans to provide hospital vouchers for veterans who want to pick different facilities. Weld said he would encourage companies to provide family and medical leave by providing tax incentives and credits. He would also push for Medicare to be permitted to negotiate prescription drug prices. Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review: “I think we need less government in the health care system. I think individuals should have their own tax-advantaged health savings accounts so that they can save up for the amount of protection that they wanted.”
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Weld pledges to make it easier for people to enter our country and contribute to the economy.Weld said his administration would expand the work visa program, put an end to mass deportations and simplify the adjudication process for immigration. Weld said in an interview with Independent Journal Review: “I think we should have more work visas, not less. Enforce them but have them available. We should have a guest worker program similar to Canada’s where people come and work for four months of the agricultural season or the construction season. … And I think the whole notion that the 11 million people who have overstayed their visas — so-called undocumented immigrants — a lot of those people just overstayed their visa. And to say all of them automatically have to get citizenship, that’s just crazy.”


'What you're doing is unprecedented': McCarthy-Pelosi feud boils over
Updated 7:03 AM ET, Mon Jul 26, 2021
The relationship between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was never very warm. Now it's in the down-right gutter. After a whiplash week of power plays between the two party leaders over the January 6 select committee, tensions are at an all-time high between the California lawmakers, and there are zero signs of that simmering down anytime soon -- with both lambasting each other publicly and erupting at each other privately. In a heated phone call last week, Pelosi informed McCarthy that she would reject two of his selections to the special House committee investigating the January 6 attack. Voices were raised, a source with knowledge of the matter said, and McCarthy protested, hinting the decision could come back to haunt her. "What you're doing is unprecedented," McCarthy told Pelosi, according to a second source familiar with the call. Publicly, Pelosi agreed. "The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision," Pelosi said, contending that McCarthy's selections of GOP Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio would have undercut the integrity of the probe. Pelosi is now plowing ahead with an investigation into the deadly Capitol riot, which could ensnare not only former President Donald Trump but McCarthy himself and several of his GOP colleagues. The first hearing will come Tuesday, featuring testimony from police officers who responded to the attack. The speaker added more Republican firepower to the panel's roster on Sunday in Rep. Adam Kinzinger -- another blow to McCarthy, who yanked all five of his selections from the panel last week and is trying to paint the probe as partisan as possible. McCarthy, meanwhile, has ramped up his public attacks on Pelosi in pointedly personal terms after she rejected Jordan and Banks, calling her a "lame duck speaker" and accusing her of destroying the institution. And the GOP leader is now facing pressure from his right flank to take a symbolic — though doomed-to-fail — shot at Pelosi with a "motion to vacate the speaker's chair," which wouldn't succeed but would represent a dramatic escalation of the McCarthy-Pelosi feud. At this point, however, it's unlikely that McCarthy will pursue such a move, according to GOP sources. But Republicans are already privately plotting other ways to seek revenge if they win back the majority: coming after Democratic committee assignments and taking advantage of what the GOP has dubbed a new Pelosi-set precedent, according to multiple GOP lawmakers and aides. Top on the GOP's target list: Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Pelosi ally who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a member of the progressive "squad" who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee. The outright hostility is only adding to the already toxic atmosphere in the House after January 6. And it also doesn't bode well should the party leaders need to work together: Pelosi — who is ruling over a razor-thin majority in the House — may need to lean on McCarthy in the near future to put up some GOP votes for infrastructure, must-pass spending bills or the debt ceiling. But Pelosi and her top lieutenants believe if they do need Republican support for any bipartisan bill, it will likely be the result of moderates breaking from McCarthy -- rather than the GOP leader working to help pass legislation with the speaker. When asked to describe McCarthy and Pelosi's relationship, one GOP lawmaker sent a GIF of the fight scene from the movie "Anchorman." And Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee offered this blunt assessment: "McCarthy has appropriately had enough. All of us had." Democrats, of course, see it differently. "McCarthy said President Trump 'bears responsibility for the January 6 attack," said Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democratic manager for the then-President's second impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection, referring to remarks the GOP leader made a week after the riot. "But then he had to be publicly shamed into meeting with police officers injured by the violent pro-Trump mob," Castro said. "Speaker Pelosi made the right decision to reject two of his picks who are hostile to the truth." A tipping point Even before the latest blow-up, McCarthy and Pelosi weren't close and their contact was minimal, with most communication done at the staff level. During the coronavirus aide negotiations last year, for example, Pelosi worked directly with then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. And McCarthy often prefers to do business with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, especially when it comes to floor matters. The relationship between Pelosi and McCarthy is different than with the GOP leader's predecessors, former Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, and Democrats say it's because he's viewed as singularly focused on taking back the House majority. To Republicans, Pelosi's removal of Jordan and Banks was the latest in a string of actions where she disregarded their views and took unilateral action while ignoring their outcries. The rejection of the two men prompted McCarthy to pull all his picks, even as Republican Rep. Liz Cheney accepted a Pelosi appointment in defiance of GOP leadership. "Speaker Pelosi has removed any credibility that (the committee) has, regardless of who was on it, because she removed people who were going to be asking fair and tough questions to try to get at the facts," said Rep. Steve Scalise, the House GOP whip. "And obviously Speaker Pelosi doesn't want to get at the facts, she wants to create a political narrative." Indeed, during negotiations over how to investigate the riots, the pair's already rocky relationship began to deteriorate. McCarthy and Pelosi went back and forth over a proposal for an independent commission, but things got so bad they eventually deputized some of their rank-and-file members to cut a deal. A compromise was reached between the two sides, but McCarthy still came out against it and the bill was blocked by the GOP in the Senate — infuriating Democrats who say the House Republican leader was never serious about uncovering the truth about what happened on January 6. And Pelosi's caucus is firmly behind her, too. That's hardly a surprise given the Democratic anger in the immediate wake of January 6, when many members refused to work with their Republican colleagues who voted to overturn the election, threatened to censure some of them and were fearful for their physical safety. On Thursday, Pelosi dropped by a meeting of her eight appointees in her suite as the lawmakers were preparing for their first hearing on Tuesday. She talked about the "overwhelming response" from all quarters -- Democratic lawmakers, friends and advocates -- about how preventing Jordan and Banks was the "right thing to do," a Democratic source with knowledge of the conversation said. Republicans, however, say their frustration with Pelosi dates to before the Capitol attack. They were furious that she instituted a form of remote voting during the pandemic, erected a plexiglass case to allow lawmakers under quarantine to still attend the vote electing her as speaker on January 3, and weakened a procedural tool used by the minority, among other things. Pelosi's decision to deny two Republicans from sitting on the select panel — which caught the GOP completely off guard — was the tipping point for many members. But it also handed the party the political talking point they wanted about the select committee and the speaker. "She is willing to do anything and everything to maintain control over her conference for the next 18 months," said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a North Dakota Republican who had been one of McCarthy's picks for the select committee. "This isn't about the truth. It's not even about the last election or the next one. This is about her maintaining an iron grip on her conference and the People's House."