Is Bill Weld Having Second Thoughts About Teaming Up With Gary Johnson?

While it has been mostly overlooked as a result of Donald Trump’s meltdown, Gary Johnson has been having his own share guffaws on the campaign trail lately. First there was his Aleppo moment, then what he himself called his other Aleppo moment. There was that whole bizarre tongue thing. And finally, yesterday he seemed to suggest that ignorance was a great basis for a sound foreign policy.

In the midst of all that, his running mate Bill Weld told Chuck Todd that, “I’m not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States.” Oops, sorry about that Gary. He took it a step farther yesterday according to  Michael Levenson and Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe.

The Libertarian vice presidential candidate, William F. Weld, said Tuesday that he plans to focus exclusively on blasting Donald Trump over the next five weeks, a strategic pivot aimed at denying Trump the White House and giving himself a key role in helping to rebuild the GOP.

Weld’s comments in a Globe interview mark a major shift in his mission since he pledged at the Libertarian convention in May that he would remain a Libertarian for life and would do all he could to help elect his running mate, Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico…

While Weld insisted he still supports Johnson, he said he is now interested primarily in blocking Trump from winning the presidency and then potentially working with longtime Republican leaders such as Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour to create a new path for the party after the election.

In other words, this Libertarian vice-presidential nominee is more interested in helping to rebuild the Republican Party post-Trump than he is in joining forces with his own (fairly unbalanced) running mate. Seems like that is something he should have thought about before he signed up, don’t you think? That’s why, in referring to Johnson’s missteps listed above, this commentary from Levinson and Phillips rings pretty hollow:

Those missteps — in sharp contrast to Weld’s smoother command of foreign affairs — have created some tensions on the ticket. Adding to the conflict are the accolades Weld has recieved from national political commentators who have dubbed him the more substantial and serious candidate, while ridiculing Johnson as a lightweight.

Gary Johnson has been involved in politics for over 20 years now. If Weld didn’t know what he was getting in to by signing up to be his running mate a few months ago, it’s hard to see how he can be labeled “the more substantial one.”

Update: In response to this post, I received the following tweet from the Johnson/Weld press office:

I would simply point out that in the Facebook post they linked to, Weld didn’t refute anything that was written in the Boston Globe article. He merely suggested a different focus.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .