Republican Bill Weld Launches 2020 Presidential Exploratory Committe

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld became the first Republican to formally challenge President Donald Trump for the 2020 presidential nomination from the GOP. On Monday, Weld issued a statement announcing his candidacy for the White House.

"I'm announcing that I'm running for president of the United States as a Republican against President Trump in 2020. ... 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. So, I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't raise my hand and run," Weld said on Monday's broadcast of CNN's "The Lead."

Weld also took to his Twitter account to announce the news and released a three-minute-long video highlighting his achievements during his two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s.

"Ours is a nation built on courage, resilience, and independence. 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," Weld, who has been a vocal Trump critic, said in a statement.

"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."

Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991-97 after serving in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan. He ran for Senate from Massachusetts in 1996 and lost against John Kerry. The Smithtown, New York-born is currently a partner at Mintz Levin law firm, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and associate member of the InterAction Council.

The announcement of Weld's 2020 bid comes after he said in February he had formed a presidential exploratory committee, a move that enabled him to raise money for a White House run.

"We have a president whose priorities are skewed towards promotion of himself rather than for the good of the country," Weld said at a recent gathering in New Hampshire, which holds an influential early nominating contest. "He may have great energy and considerable raw talent, but he does not use that in ways that promote democracy, truth, justice and equal opportunity for all. To compound matters, our president is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office in the land."

Bill Weld Republican Presidential Candidate
Former Governor Bill Weld during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater on March 8, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)

At the New Hampshire gathering, Weld described himself as a "Republican who works across the aisle and gets things done," and said he would have a "bipartisan Cabinet" if he won the presidency.

In the video he released Monday, Weld showcased clips of some of Trump's most controversial moments. These included Trump's infamous "Access Hollywood" video of him using lewd language to boast of his sexual groping and kissing of women without their consent, to the president's comments in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017.

The video finishes with the slogan: "A Better America Starts Here."

Despite criticism, Trump still holds 89 percent of Republican voters' approval as the president, according to the most recent Gallup poll. If Trump continues to retain his high popularity among Republicans, it may be very difficult for any challenger to defeat him in a contest for the GOP nomination.

A recent article on FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, called Weld potentially "one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign."

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have also been mentioned in recent months as potential party challengers to Trump.

This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.