Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld in February 2019 became the first Republican to announce plans to challenge President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination.
Weld, 73, announced that he’d formed a presidential exploratory committee on Feb. 15, 2019, a move that enabled him to raise money for a White House run.
"We cannot sit passively as our precious democracy slips quietly into the darkness," Weld said in his announcement, according to The Washington Post. "Congress must do its duty, and as citizens we must do ours."
"It is time for all people of good will to take a stand and plant a flag...It's for this reason that I have today established an Exploratory Committee to pursue the possibility for my running for the Presidency of the United States as a Republican in the 2020 election." pic.twitter.com/LUrsyyo1fP— Gov. Bill Weld (@GovBillWeld) February 15, 2019
Here are some things to know about Weld:
- Weld was born on July 31, 1946, in Smithtown, New York. According to the Justice Department, Weld’s father was a partner in the family’s investment banking firm on Wall Street.
- Weld graduated from Harvard College in 1966 with his bachelor’s degree and went on to study at economics at University College, Oxford, before graduating from Harvard Law School with his juris doctorate in 1970. After graduation, he launched a private practice in Boston and, in 1973, became involved in the Watergate scandal when he was hired by the House Impeachment Committee as counsel to research the legal grounds for impeachment.
- President Ronald Reagan appointed Weld to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, when he left to become assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. He held that role until 1988.
- Weld was elected in 1990 to serve as the 68th governor of Massachusetts. He was reelected once, in 1994.
- Weld has run for office several times since 1994. In 1996, he made an unsuccessful run for a seat in the U.S. Senate before returning to private practice. He ran for the Republican nomination for governor of New York in 2005, but he failed to secure the nomination. In 2016, Weld was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice president on a ticket headed by Gary Johnson.
- Weld and his wife, Leslie Marshall, live in Canton, Massachusetts. Weld has five children from a previous marriage and three step-children.