Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld is trying to unseat Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president in 2020 but will have a much more difficult challenge now that the Republican Party in several states has decided to cancel primaries entirely.
On Friday, Politico reported that Republican leaders in four states are finalizing plans to cancel the 2020 primary elections. Though it is not uncommon for parties to cancel primaries when they have a president in office, the report noted, this is usually only the case for uncontested primaries. There are already two Republicans who have stepped forward to challenge Trump — Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh.
Weld immediately attacked the report on Friday, issuing an email to supporters calling the move undemocratic.
“In the United States of America we don’t elect a president by acclamation,” Weld wrote, via Boston.com.
Weld also took aim directly at Trump in a tweet, saying he “wishes to be crowned as President rather than elected.”
“That might be fine in a monarchy, but we overthrew ours two centuries ago,” Weld wrote.
The move would be within the control of statewide Republican parties, which can determine how and when primaries are held. Parties are under no legal obligation to hold these contests and can select candidates for office without asking voters to choose.
The Republican National Committee had already taken the unusual step of committing total support to Donald Trump back in January. As ABC News noted at the time, the RNC passed an unprecedented pledge giving Trump “undivided support” more than a year before primaries were scheduled to be held. The move was seen as a signal to potential primary challengers not to go after Trump.
“He is the most qualified candidate in either party to continue to serve the American people,” said Cassie Smedile, the RNC’s national press secretary.
Donald Trump, by turns arrogant and paranoid, has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to be crowned as President rather than elected. That might be fine in a monarchy, but we overthrew ours two centuries ago.https://t.co/EzHZ2yeFxJ
— Gov. Bill Weld (@GovBillWeld) September 6, 2019
But critics have said that Donald Trump is trying to amass authoritarian control over the party, with top Republican brass working to squash any potential competition or dissent with Trump’s policies. After the report that states were moving to cancel primaries, that criticism was reiterated by Walsh, who — like Weld — said that Donald Trump was trying to act like a king.
“This can’t—This can’t happen in America,” he said, via the Independent. “Donald Trump is not a king. You cannot just eliminate elections. We are going to fight it in these four states. If they proceed and do this we are going to fight them with everything we’ve got legally.”