Former GOP Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Monday he is entering the race for president because he fears "for the republic" — becoming the first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020.
In remarks on CNN's "The Lead," Weld dropped the surprise news.
"I'm announcing that I'm running for president of the United States as a Republican against President Trump in 2020," Weld said.
"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," he said. "So, I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t raise my hand and run."
Despite Trump's nearly 90% support within the Republican Party, Weld said he is not daunted by the odds.
"I've done it before, particularly in New Hampshire, where I'm spending a lot of time," he said. "It's one vote at a time and one voter at a time. And you've got to meet them. But what we have now is a president who mocks the rule of law. I spent seven years in the Justice Department trying to keep the politics out of law enforcement. He's trying to put it in."
"A president who says, we don't need a free press, who says, climate change is a complete hoax: He's not paying attention," Weld continued. "I doubt very much he's made a study of any of those issues, but he seems to have difficulty, in my opinion, and I was a prosecutor for quite a while, he has a difficulty conforming his conduct to the requirements of law. That's a serious matter in the Oval Office."
In a statement to CNN, Weld echoed that theme.
"Ours is a nation built on courage, resilience, and independence," Weld, who had previously formed an exploratory committee, said in the statement. "In these times of great political strife, when both major parties are entrenched in their 'win at all cost' battles, the voices of the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering.
"It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag.
"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."