BOSTON (AP) — Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld says he’s seen interest and fundraising pick up as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has struggled recently.
Weld said he’s spoken with a handful of Republican members of Congress who are considering reassessing their endorsements for the fall election.
“The ice is cracking a little bit,” he said Monday.
Weld is running with Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. Weld made his comments as he delivered a final batch of signatures to guarantee the two former Republicans a spot on the November ballot in Massachusetts.
The former Massachusetts governor said momentum is growing for the Libertarian ticket. The immediate goal, he said, is to reach the 15 percent threshold needed in polls to secure a spot on the debate stage with Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“That step alone would probably carry us past 15 percent, closer to 20 percent, and work on getting another 5 percent, which I think is a modest goal in the month of September,” he said.
Weld said he’s known Johnson for 20 years. He said they get along so well, even enjoying playing backgammon or pool together on the campaign trail, that they would work closely together if elected.
“I’m not going to even have my personal staff as vice president, because we want to govern as a team,” Weld said.
Weld, who lived for many years in New York after serving as governor, said he met Trump socially on occasion and described him as “understated” and “low key.”
But he said that when Trump enters the business world he becomes a different guy.
“I think the Donald Trump who would show up at the White House would be the business Donald Trump,” Weld said. “It would not be the family man capable of acts of personal generosity.”
One moderate Republican Weld hasn’t been able to woo is Gov. Charlie Baker, who served as Weld’s health and human services secretary and budget chief in the 1990s.
“As much as I like and admire Bill Weld — and I do like and admire him — there are a lot of things about the Libertarian platform that I simply can’t support, starting with the idea of legalizing all drugs,” said Baker, who has publicly rejected voting for Clinton or Trump.
Weld said he hasn’t tried to enlist Baker.
“I’m not pitching Charlie because I think he’s very smart to stay out of the national campaign,” Weld said. “As soon as he sticks a finger in it, everyone’s going to come to him every morning and say, ‘Well, you’re a gladiator in the contest now, what do you think about this sub-issue?’ and he wouldn’t have time to govern here. I think he’s doing just the right thing.”
Baker said he wasn’t surprised by his former boss’ foray into presidential politics, even for another party.
“We all know Bill Weld is nothing if not an unpredictable and iconoclastic guy, and having had a chance to hear a little bit of the back and forth that’s gone on since he’s gotten into the race he sounds as articulate and genuine as ever,” Baker said.
Trump, who recently was involved in a high-profile dispute with an American Muslim family whose son was killed in Iraq, has faced signs of GOP divisions and has strained to overcome deepening concerns about his presidential candidacy.
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