Photo: Charles Krupa/AP

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced on Monday that he is officially entering the 2020 Republican primary, making him the first Republican to step forward to challenge Donald Trump.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag,” Weld said in a statement. “It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln—equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”

Weld previously launched an exploratory committee and was widely rumored to be considering a run.

In 2016, Weld was the running mate for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who won 4.5 million votes across the country.

“I really think if we have six more years of the same stuff we’ve had out of the White House the last two years that would be a political tragedy, and I would fear for the Republic,” Weld told CNN. “I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t raise my hand and run.”

Advertisement

But don’t worry—Weld says he won’t run as an independent if he loses the primary, as he almost certainly will. No, that might actually negatively impact Republicans’ chances of maintaining power!

It’s essentially impossible to conceive of Weld beating Trump for the Republican nomination. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is currently almost 90 percent. And Weld doesn’t adhere to the extreme right platform that made Trump a star.

At least Weld is used to losing: after winning two terms as Massachusetts governor in the ‘90s, he ran for Senate and lost to John Kerry. A few years later, he moved to New York and lost a run for governor there.

Advertisement

But, despite all odds, he told CNN he thinks he can win.

“Particularly in New Hampshire, where I’m spending a lot of time, it’s one vote at a time and one voter at a time, and you gotta meet ‘em,” he said.

Weld said he was a “Republican who works across the aisle and gets things done,” and promised that if he somehow won, he’d have a “bipartisan Cabinet.”

Advertisement

During Weld’s time as governor, he supported gun control and LGBTQ rights. He is also pro-choice. But though he may be more moderate than Trump, and highly liberal by Republican standards, he’s still helped pushed some nasty policies. As governor of Massachusetts, Weld privatized most of the state’s human services.