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5 things you may not know about William Weld, Gary Johnson's running mate

Posted November 1

William Weld is running for vice president. But how much do you know about him? Here's an informative look. (Deseret Photo)

William Weld has found himself on the defensive in recent days — defending his running mate, Libertarian party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Two days ago, Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, spoke to a group of Harvard Republicans, trying to convince them to vote for Johnson over other presidential candidates, especially Donald Trump, who he compared to previous populist leaders like Napoleon, Caesar and Hitler, according to the Boston Herald.

“The man on horseback comes along, people say you’re the only one who can save us and then they’re enslaved,” Weld said. “And I think that could happen this year with a Trump presidency.”

The Harvard Republicans invited Weld to speak at their school because the group has yet to endorse a candidate. In fact, this is the first time the Harvard GOP group hasn’t endorsed a Republican candidate in more than 128 years.

Weld said the reason for this and Trump’s rise is because Congress is too gridlocked to make decisions. The political parties of the modern day are so extreme that a true, likable candidate rarely gets elected.

“I think part of what’s going on this year is the dying gasps of the dualopoly which is the two-party monopoly in Washington, D.C.,” Weld said. “The two parties hate each other so much they exist with almost no other thought than to kill the other party. And that is reflected 100 percent at the campaign level. The two campaigns exist to kill each other.”

Weld said he hopes voters will see himself and Johnson as a viable option for the presidency.

But how much do we really know about Weld and what he’d bring to the White House? Here are five interesting notes about the Libertarian VP pick that may offer insight into who he is as a potential vice president.

Weld knows Mitt Romney

Romney said he would vote for William Weld, if he were at the top of the ticket.

As CNN reported in June, Romney, also a former governor of Massachusetts, told CNN that Weld would easily win his vote. Romney, though a member of the GOP establishment, has been critical of Trump.

"If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president," Romney said, according to CNN. "So I'll get to know Gary Johnson better and see if he's someone who I could end up voting for. That's something which I'll evaluate over the coming weeks and months."

In fact, Johnson told the Deseret News earlier this month that Weld and Romney have been in constant communication throughout the election cycle.

He feels Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate

Weld may be all-in on his running mate becoming president, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect Hillary Clinton.

In an interview with MSNBC earlier in October, Weld said that Clinton is the most qualified presidential candidate.

"I'm not sure anybody's more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States," he said.

But that doesn’t mean she should be president, he continued.

Weld has deep Massachusetts roots

Weld’s connections to the state he once governed date back to the days of pilgrims. In fact, he once told former Massachusetts Sen. William Bulger that his family sent a servant over on the Mayflower to prepare the cottage that Weld’s family planned to live in.

And even though he grew up on Long Island, New York, Weld spent his formative years in the Bay State, National Review reported.

“After a childhood spent at a home on Long Island’s north shore that later became a nature preserve, Weld graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with a degree in economics, studying the subject further at Oxford before returning to Cambridge, Mass., to earn his J.D. from Harvard Law School," according to the National Review.

Weld wasn’t always Libertarian

Weld has received a lot of attention for running as a third-party candidate.

But this wasn’t always the case. According to The New Yorker, Weld ran in Massachusetts as a Republican. In fact, “his brand of New England Republicanism, now nearly defunct, fully accepts that government has a role to play in the pursuit of the common good,” according to The New Yorker.

It makes sense then that Weld helped George W. Bush in his preparations to debate John Kerry, who defeated Weld in a 1996 Massachusetts Senate race, in the 2004 presidential elections.

Weld almost wasn't a VP pick

We were really close to living in a world where Weld wasn't the vice-presidential nominee.

According to the New Yorker, the Libertarian National Convention barely voted Weld in as the VP pick, as the former Massachusetts governor earned just 50.5 percent of the vote.

This was likely because his stances don't always align with the party.

"Weld has supported Republican candidates in prior presidential elections and hasn't been involved in the Libertarian party for too long," according to Reason.com. "Weld also holds some firm beliefs that differ from those in the majority of the Libertarian party — for example, staying in the United Nations when most Libertarians want out."

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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