William Weld, the Libertarian vice presidential candidate, has pivoted his attack to focus exclusively on Donald Trump in the final stretch of the campaign. But he said in an interview Wednesday that the shifting strategy was no tacit endorsement of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who he’s cozied to in recent remarks.
“Every time I say something nice about my old friend Hillary Clinton, everyone goes berserk and I get a thousand calls saying renounce your candidacy tomorrow and throw your support to Clinton,” said Weld, a former Massachusetts governor in Atlanta for a campaign stop. “To which I say, ‘Baloney, win your own election.”
He added: “We’re not doing it to do Mrs. Clinton any favors, we’re doing it because that’s where the votes are.”
He and running-mate Gary Johnson have gained ground with some young voters – Hillary Clinton’s campaign has struggled to keep millennials in the fold – and recent polls show the Libertarians hovering in the high single-digits in Georgia.
But Johnson’s recent blunders, including his embarrassing on-camera struggle to name a single foreign leader he admires and his failure to identify the Syrian city of Aleppo, has dented some of his support. And Weld didn’t do his running-mate any favors when he told MSNBC last week there’s no “more qualified” presidential candidate than Clinton.
In the interview, Weld brushed aside concerns about Johnson’s foreign policy bona fides.
“Gary has swung and missed on some snap quiz questions, but that’s less important than having the right policy,” said Weld. “And on Syria, Iraq, Libya – he does have it.”
He predicted the Republican Party will split in two under the weight of Trump’s candidacy – and said that he wants a seat at the table to pick up the pieces.
“He’s running against everything the Republican Party decided after the 2012 election it needed to do,” said Weld. “It emphasized free trade, much greater outreach to Hispanics, women and people of color. And Trump is going 180 degrees in the other direction.”
And Weld, for his part, said he was genuinely enjoying the campaign trail, the meticulous plotting of strategy and, yes, even the sit-downs with local reporters.
“I’m not supposed to admit I’m having a blast. But I like the three dimensional chess game that goes along with a hard contested election,” he said. “But I wish it was a three or four corner debate, and not a two-corner one. Now, it just makes for a straight line.”