Horizon 2020: What will the Midterms Tell Us About the Future of US Elections?

DATE: 12.30-1.30pm, 13 June 2018
VENUE: Committee Room 6, House of Commons
SPEAKER: William F. Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts
EVENT CHAIR: Nigel Evans MP

Nigel Evans MP
Hello, good afternoon everyone. Sorry we were slightly late. There are those of you that may know that there were demonstrations in the lobby of Parliament which may have delayed some of you getting in. But further to that, there were members of, [inaudible] demonstrations in the chamber by the Scottish national party, one was chucked out and the others left with him so Prime Minister’s Questions will probably go on the latest that it’s ever done. But nonetheless, we were delighted that you could come this afternoon when Governor Weld, who is a former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, and later the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election, sharing the ticket with Gary Johnson. Governor Weld was the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, focusing on a series of high-profile public corruption cases, of which I understand you won the vast majority, and served as the head of the Department of Justice Criminal Division from 1986 to 1988. He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and was in office from 1991 to 1997, and was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in 1996, losing to the Democrat who was the incumbent John Kerry. Please be welcome, Governor Weld.

William F. Weld
Thank you very much everybody, and my wife, Leslie Markle and I are very happy to be here. We’ve only been here three days, we kept the whole week though and we’ve decided to move to London.

Nigel Evans MP
The weather’s always like this.

William F. Weld
It beats the heck out of Washington, you know? Climate or no climate. So, I’m going to give you a little bit of a biographical info about myself since later I’m going to be offering opinion testimony. Have to qualify as an expert in order to offer opinion testimony. But one of my first jobs in public life was to work on the impeachment of Richard Nixon back in 1973 and 1974. I worked for the U.S house judiciary committee which actually was the body which voted to impeach President Nixon. And I worked on the department of staff that was analysing the legal grounds for the impeachment of a president. We haven’t had an impeachment of a president since Henry Johnson in 1868 so we were a little rusty back [inaudible]. And I shared an office with a woman who was even younger than I was back then, we were both in our twenties. Her name was Hilary Robin and she was right out of Yale Law School, I was right out of Harvard Law School, but the two of us wrote the book on what’s grounds for impeachment of a president. So there I was, at the Harvard [inaudible] national scandal in 1973, then 13 years later, 1986, I was head of the criminal division of the justice department so I had [inaudible] ran concepts and 13 years after that was 1999 [inaudible] and I’m preparing a witness for trial [inaudible] who was the chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. He said ‘Well, looks like they’re going to proceed against my guy. And we’re looking for someone who can testify as an expert witness on the law of impeachment’, the third being that sex this isn’t an impeachable offense as it has to be something that concerns the government or the structure of the government or the separation of power or something like that, not personal conduct of any sort. And I did think that that was the case [inaudible]. Three national scandals in a row separated by 30 years and I was just waiting to see what would happen in 2012. I thought it might be the dissolution of the Republican Party following the example of the Whigs from the 1850s. But it hasn’t come to pass, at least yet. So anyway I was very familiar with the grounds on which Mr Nixon was impeached and there was of course [inaudible] some of you weren’t anywhere near born when this happened but there was a break-in at the democratic national community headquarters and the conspirators were all working indirectly for the community to re-elect Mr Nixon so it would involve the White House and criminal conduct. So this was taken very seriously the Watergate conspiracy was Article 1, but that did not get the most votes. What got the most votes to impeach and remove President Nixon was Article 2 which was called Agency abuse. It consisted of early efforts by Mr Nixon [inaudible] right after the Watergate break-in to try to divert attention and persuade the justice department or get the justice department ordered, to drop its investigations of Watergate on the ground that it violated national security, which is complete poppycock. It was totally made-up [inaudible] peddling that lie all over town, telling them they better drop it, it’s CIA, it’s FBI, it’s national security. And I can tell you that what Mr Trump has done, even to-date, in terms of hollowing out the justice department, firing people, threatening to fire other people. Saying that I’m going to pardon my friend. Use of the pardoning power is not supposed to be for your friends.

[inaudible] Just any number of activities to undermine the rule of law. I mean, let’s be honest, the man is a loose man with a truth and he’s definitely a stranger to the rule of law, at least in its governmental dealings. And its well beyond whatever Mr Nixon ever did. That’s expert opinion. I’ll come back to that one. I also did testify as an expert witness on the law of impeachment [inaudible] at the Clinton impeachment when I solemnly intoned that no, sex was not an impeachable offense and I thought my old friend Lamar Smith was going to jump across the witness table and strangle me. My friends were all Republicans then. I’ve been a Republican my whole life and indeed I was until 2016. So I’ve been on both sides of the aisle. [inaudible] Some years later, partly as a result of my experience in the Nixon case which really was one vast criminal investigation, and that got me interested in criminal law, I ran for attorney general in Massachusetts and lost rather badly, but then next time round I got elected so it was a good [inaudible] In some ways the Nixon experience was the foundation for everything that went after that, and the fact that I’d run the losing race for Attorney General, got me appointed United States attorney when Reagan was elected.[inaudible] And that’s the local top prosecutor federally in each state and, as Mr Evans mentioned, we did win 110 out of 111 public corruption cases, which was a good ratio. [inaudible] So I had 7 years in justice, 5 in Massachusetts, so that’s state. And then two as head of the criminal division, running that whole side of the operation for the department of narcotics and terrorism and I made corruption the Number 1 federal priority which was a switch. And I resigned from that position after a couple of years. My boss was a fellow called Ed Meese, who would say things to me like ‘Can you let up on this guy? He’s a friend of the President.’ Well, if anyone else said that it would be obstruction of justice. But a lot of things like that happened. Several special prosecutors were appointed to look into independent counsels to look into Mr Meese’s affairs, and by the way, he’s a great guy, he just didn’t take off his political hat when he got back from the White House, where he had been council to the President. [inaudible]

I had spent years keeping politics out of law enforcement, not to put politics in law enforcement. So I resigned rather noisily there in 1988 and got elected in 1990 as governor with 50.01% of the vote. It was a fluke election. The Democratic Party split right down the middle and I still only got over 50%. Never happened again. Any bad luck I ever had in politics was dwarfed by the insane good luck I had getting elected governor in the first place. Though we had a good run and we were reflected with 71% of the vote in 1994. [inaudible]I was kind of a funny combination of very fiscally conservative, very socially liberal. I was rated the most fiscally conservative governor in the United States. This was the state that, until I got there, used to be called ‘Taxachussetts’. So we cut spending in absolute dollars from one year to the next. So the Wall Street journal and Cato institute, which is a libertarian think-tank, both which voted me most fiscally conservative governor in the United States. And indeed, [inaudible] libertarians are people who think that there should be less government and more individual freedoms everything should be up to the individuals who make up government. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘That government is best which governs least.’ That’s a precise statement. [inaudible] libertarianism. As I put it in a talk to the Republican national convention, in Houston in 1992,

‘I want the government out of your pocket book and out of your bedroom.’ That’s also a precise statement. But we cut taxes 21 times; never raised them. And the result was great for the economy. We went from having the highest unemployment rate in the country of the industrialised states, to the lowest and overhauled the education system. I put a lot more money into the system which pleased the liberals, and I said we’re going to have standards and accountability and high-stakes tests which pleased the conservatives and also resulted with Massachusetts being number 1 in Reading and Math for each of the next 25 years. And that was 25 years ago. So it was a good run. You know, when you’re elected by the people, you have no boss other than the people. So it doesn’t matter if you displease some people. [inaudible] So I came out very early as supportive for gay and lesbian rights a full 10 or 15 years ahead of my time. [inaudible] That was my first year and I appointed gay chief of staff, cabinet members. And I appointed the woman as a judge who wrote the opinion holding that gay marriage was constitutionally required under the equal protection clause [inaudible] for standard due process. In my first year, I also came out for medicinal marijuana for relief of glaucoma, nausea, for chemotherapy. It was 10 years before any elected official came out for that as well. Very liberal on immigration. Appointed counsels for Asian Americans, African Americans. Even Muslims. I met with them once a month. A melting pot, golden door. [inaudible] And we worked with President Clinton and his nemesis, Newt Gringich, the Republican who became speaker of house [inaudible] Republicans by and large are more free traders much more so than democrats who are much more in hop with labour interests.

So that was my time as governor and then, as Mr Evans mentioned in 2016, I got a call from my old friend Gary Johnson with whom I served as a Republican governor who was a Libertarian, had been presidential candidate in 2012 who said would I like to help [inaudible] run. This is 2 weeks before the convention and he said ‘Whatever you do don’t say anything over the phone’ so of course I said ‘yes’. So we sealed the deal the next day and I thoroughly enjoyed that campaign. Now I was kind of like a thorn in Mr Trump’s side. I began by saying that this anti-Muslim immigration ban and everything that went with it, kind of reminded me of Kristallnacht, which was the forerunner to events later in the 30s in Nazi Germany and by the end of the campaign I was so horrified by the tone emanating from the Trump camp that I was on a popular talk show called Morning Joe and I took out and read 3 pages from 1984. I don’t know if you’ve all read it but it was written by George Orwell, in the 60s I think, but it was a prediction of how Big Brother would take over and people would lose their freedoms. And one of the parts I read was out of the beginning: Everyone has a big screen in their apartment and Big Brother can watch them at any time. The part I read was about the 2 minute hate and they beamed out hate out of those TV screens for 2 minutes every afternoon. They left everybody filled people up with hate and they weren’t quite sure what they hated or who they were hating but it made them more docile and thus more pliable. And I thought that was kind of an analogy to what was going on in the US elections. Certainly the quarters. [inaudible] And in fact, shortly after the election, 1984 the book became a bestseller. [inaudible] Out of nowhere it became a bestseller in the United States. So I think that some people share that view. But my sense of the campaign was that I think Mr Trump demonstrated great admiration for autocrats all around the world. Notably, Mr Putin. [inaudible] Scoop Jackson by the way would roll over in this grave. He was a very strong anti-Soviet. [inaudible] Trump’s strong embrace of Putin and Russia. Russia has been a great country for centuries. [inaudible] But Mr Putin does not wish us a lot of positive experiences, I don’t think. But it’s not just him, it’s also [inaudible] and the Philippines. [inaudible] Now they happened to have sold drugs but they are being killed without any process whatsoever. That’s a little tough. And of course, Mr Kim in Korea right after he got in, killed a couple of people after these. Mr Trump thought ‘This guy’s got a lot of pizazz that guy,’ because he killed a couple of people to cement his authority. So now that was the 2016 election. Now we’re coming up to the midterms, the 2018 elections. And the question that’s on everyone minds: Are the Democrats going to take back the house? And for a while there, the country thought that they are clearly going to take back the house. Recently, Trump’s has been doing a bit better I think that’s fair to say, and [inaudible] I think people are beginning to wonder about that. [inaudible] And I do believe the Democrats are going to win the house because moderate sense [inaudible] Democrats winning a lot of the … democratic primaries which sets them up better for the finals against the Republicans and there are a lot of swing districts at play. If they do win the house I think that they will vote to impeach Mr Trump for the grounds that I said, the rule of law grounds. But I don’t think the women are going to bring him down, I don’t think the Russian investigations are going to bring him down. But I do think that the undisputed record as to undermine the rule of law is going to appeal to the Democrats sufficiently. And that’d be a parting line vote. You know, the Republicans are not going to join us in that. [inaudible] But I do think that’s going to happen. When that happens, if it does, the house then appoints a number of members of what we call managers of the impeachment [inaudible] and the trial of an impeachment is in the senate. In the house all you need is a majority vote. [inaudible] In the Senate you need 67 votes. That’s going to be tough to come by. But that doesn’t mean the house isn’t going to send it over. If the house is in Democratic hands, they’ll do that and say ‘well we’ll let the Senate stew in their own juices and make their own decisions’ [inaudible] So I think that will result in a period of 9-12 months of exceedingly unflattering publicity for Mr Trump. And they’re not going to go over there and say nice things about him and I think that might weaken him for the 2020 election which will then be coming up. So the theories would be undermining the rule of law and lying to the American people. As I said, it’s kind of an indifferent relationship, almost a skewed relationship with the truth in Mr Trump’s daily announcements. And there are things like when Mr Trump says ‘well every time I meet Mr Putin he says I had nothing to do with any interference in the elections. He says it like he means it so I believe him.’ This is very tough to swallow. Given the findings of the findings of the US intelligence agencies [inaudible] and people say, well look what happened yesterday with the Brits in North Korea. Let’s say that goes through. I don’t think that will prove relevant to the deliberations in the Senate.

When you think about it what Mr Nixon did with China in 1972 just before the Watergate incident happened is even more important than anything involving North Korea, and no one even mentioned it during his impeachment proceedings, that was then and this is now, what have you done for me lately and what about this thing with the charge assault. So I don’t think that the Korea thing is going to be a major determent. In my book, and this is just opinion, but I think that Mr Trump has gotten foreign policy pretty consistently, exactly wrong. Or at least the opposite of what I would do, put it that way.The Soviets, to tracking NATO to Jackson was a strong guy, in fact. Actually your charter is pretty strong [inaudible] recently the trashing of the G6, and the G7 and Justin Trudeau and trading in Canada, our longest and closest ally, next to the UK, that long, wonderful relationship and throwing out a way past [inaudible] the dictator of North Korea. It takes some getting used to. I think [inaudible] that the Iran treaty when there was no evidence that they were violating it, I think that was a mistake and they lost a chance to have public opinion coalesce in our favour over the next 10 years, there. But people in the street, I think have sources [inaudible] lean very much to the West. Now red guards and the people’s revolutionary guard and people on the top don’t share that view, because you know, they’re in power and they want to stay in power and so you can’t be absolutely sure. I think if you listened to the pulse of that country, there are people who would want a closer relationship to the West. Of course, the country does all kinds of negative things because the people aren’t making their own decisions. [inaudible] So that’s perhaps part of the problem. In 2020, [inaudible] First of all, by way of backdrop to the 2020 elections, the sub-issue here with the potential role of a third-party. Most people in the United States today think that the two big parties, the R party and the D party, have become polarized. They’re locked in a kind of death-spiral embrace .they seem to exist sometimes at times only for the purpose of defeating the other. They need each other so they can demonise each other so they can raise money for their base and money is the name of the game, which is kind of depressing. I was telling His Lordship, when I first worked for Senator [inaudible] in my first job in the senate before I went to Law School in the floor of the Senate the galleries would be filled with people who wanted to hear the speech to see whether they would be persuaded. Now it’s totally mass-marketed, just about Social media, don’t worry about actually giving a speech on the floor. Speeches are being given at 3 or 4 in the morning to an empty hall and the rules in the Senate are that the camera cannot leave the speaker’s face so no one knows it’s going on in 3 or 4 in the morning [inaudible]. But people really are not listening to each other in Washington. There is some evidence that the fragmentation which is in a sense natural to a national party maybe getting to the point when one or even both of the parties could have fissures to the point where they would split up. The model for this is the Whig party back in the 1850s, it split right in half over the issue of slavery. The southern half was called the no-nothings their big issue was nationism. They hated all these Catholics coming in from Ireland, Germany and Italy. And they were categorised by violent rows, conspiracy theories, and anti-immigrant flaming rhetoric. [inaudible] sound familiar by any chance? The Trump campaign was a mirror image of the no-nothings campaign in the 1850s. The other half of the Whigs joined the free-souls and created the Republican Party and 4 years later elected Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. So there could be a happy ending here. Doesn’t have to be a bad ending. In the Democratic Party there have long been a combination of blue-collar, so called lunch pail democrats. Then there was a band of increasingly left-wing big bank left-wingers on the outside and they would be represented by Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont who ran last time who promised everything would be free. His economics were seriously left-wing in the campaign. And indeed, he is a Socialist. He runs in the Democratic primary in Vermont, wins it, declines the nomination and then runs as an independent slash Socialist and gets elected. [inaudible] So he will be a factor in 2020. He’s gearing up to run again, he will be almost 80 I think by the time of the election but he has got simply enormous energy. There are people who do think, and I think I might be one of them, that he might have beaten Mr Trump if he had gotten past Hilary Clinton in the primaries. But what happened of course was that the establishment folks and the lunch-pail folks all said that ‘we can’t have Sanders, he’s too radical, and we have to cut his throat’. [inaudible] So they did gang up on him and he’ll be back. So that’ll be a factor. Another possible candidate for the Democrats is from my state of Massachusetts – Elizabeth Warren who’s a very popular Senator. I not sure if her popularity is as broad as is deep among her supporters. But she really doesn’t believe in the private sector at all, and she became famous for saying at a small-business association meeting. They were giving a prize to someone who created a new plant, small business, created 20 more jobs and she stood up to give her remarks: ‘Well Mr Smith , I want to congratulate you but I certainly hope that you don’t think you had anything to do with creating those jobs. The Government created those jobs. If it hadn’t been for the roads that allowed people to get here and the bridges and the highways or the free public schooling so people have the skill sets to work in your company, they wouldn’t be there.’ A month or so after that, President Obama took up those very words in a speech which he gave himself. If it weren’t for the fact he already was President of the United States, I would say that anyone who gave that speech cannot get elected President of the United States. It’s really quite a conservative country. It’s more conservative than Western European countries. At bottom, attitudes towards property, are more ferocious I think than they are generally here. On the Republican side, you know there’s a lot of gnashing of teeth, [inaudible] that some enterprising person has to take Mr Trump on in the primaries and take him out [inaudible]. Well this person will run, that person will run. Well, that’s fantasy in my mind. Mr Trump has a 75% favourability rating among the Republicans, just the Republicans. And those primaries on the Republican side are not what are called open primaries, where independents can come in and vote in a primary. They’re closed primaries where only Republicans can vote. So anyone who says, ‘Well, I’m a Republican, I’m challenging Mr Trump as a Republican’ is looking at an incumbent with a 75% favourability. It’s just a hopeless errand. Somebody may do it anyway but I think the prospects of success there or even greatly weakening Mr Trump, because of that challenge are not great. Maybe if it gets together with the impeachment trial [inaudible]. I think Mr Trump’s path to the nomination is secure whether there are legal problems or not. I shall say that in addition to running the special prosecutor program in the justice department when I was head of the criminal division, I also appointed Bob Mueller as my deputy in the justice department. [inaudible] Bob Mueller is now in a counsel looking at the Russian [inaudible] deal with Mr Trump. [inaudible] So there was a very interesting article in the New York times recently in a magazine piece which said, it was speculating about the possibility of a third party coming to the fore in 2020 and the author who was a Republican woman said ‘it’s as least as likely that a third-party will win the 2020 Presidential race as it was 2 years before the election of Donald Trump that Donald Trump would win the presidency. You could have got 1000 to 1 odds, before the 2016 elections. So it could be one of two things. It could be a self-funded candidate like Ross Paro, they would have to be well in the billions for that and prepared to spend it, it’s gotten so expensive. Or it could be a third-party candidate, and there’s only one that’s on the ballot in all 50 states, and that’s the Libertarian party. That’s the one that I ran with Gary Johnson in 2016. People think, you know a lot of people in the US who hear the word ‘Libertarian’ and what they really hear ‘Liberty’ so they think ‘these guys are way out there. We can’t think about them, and we gotta go with the ‘R’ and the ‘D’’. And that’s the two party duality monopoly, which I would suggest has not been good for getting anything done in Washington recently. Washington is sort of famous for career luck. So we’ll see if we can make that point stick. If you peel away these letters, the platform of the Libertarians should not be scary to the American people because it’s a combination of the things I did in Massachusetts, which was very well taken. Cutting spending, cutting taxes, greater personal freedoms, having the reigning in of entitlements which would be perhaps not all that popular but you have to come to grips with that budget or we’re going to have trillion dollar debts every year and it’s not going to be sustainable and I think people are coming around to understanding that. But I mean having a look at having the Libertarians doing that on the top of the ticket this time and if it looks as though there could be a breakthrough for a third party. If that could happen, I might very well find myself doing something I’d never done campaigning actively for a Democrat for the presidency, particularly if it’s for the Conservative wing of the Democrat party but I would be very much involved in the pushing and shoving in the 2020 races and we can all be inspired by the example of Mr Macron in France. Speaking of people who if you asked who they were 2 years before the election everybody would have said ‘Huh? Je ne se pas?’ So that’s pretty much my take on 2016, 2018, 2020 elections. That’s about all I know about the relevant topics, so thank you very much for having me.

Nigel Evans MP
[inaudible] It’s lovely to see you here, Lord Anderson as well from the House of Lords and [inaudible] form the House of Commons, we have [inaudible] so thank you for that insight into politics past, present and future. As to what may happen, I do know, remember, I know a guy called Chris Muddy, you never know, we might bump into Donald Trump. First person we saw is Donald Trump.

William F. Weld
Hard to miss!

Nigel Evans MP
So it was me and a mate. So he bought his dinner and we had lovely conversation in the evening. And I cannot recall him ever saying he wanted to be President of the United States, which is remarkable to going from that to beating a lady who thought of little else. So I think anything can happen in American Politics and as we can see from Jeremy Corbyn, in British politics as well. It’s quite remarkable that the great rebel has now become the leader of the Labour party. But nonetheless we have questions [inaudible] and Donald Anderson

QUESTION
The conventional wisdom is that [inaudible] there are relatively few Swing states because of the [inaudible] incumbency [inaudible]. Is that still the case?

William F. Weld
Yes, thank you for the question. He’s asking if there are still relatively few swing states. I think that is the case. And I do think that we do need some election reforms to try to undercut the situation. I filed a law suit a few months ago challenging the allocation of electors at the state level. Only the 100% winner take all rule under the rules in every state except from Nebraska and Maine, whoever gets the most votes for president in a state gets all the electoral votes. So the theory of the law suit, which was based on a 1968 Hugo Black supreme court decision squarely on point, is that while states of broad latitude, what they do, how they choose their electors, they can’t federal violate federal constitution laws in doing so 1968. Ohio case which went to the Supreme Court you can’t violate equal protection in due process [inaudible] which undergirded the Gay marriage polling in the process. So our theory is that, and we filed in 4 states simultaneously. We filed in Massachusetts and California, the plans for myself, Republican and Libertarian and other Republicans. and we said ‘so we’re disfranchised we got 40% of the vote in this state and we never get a single electoral vote and that violates equal protection’, and then we filed another suit in Texas and another red state, and they said we’re Democrats and we get 40% of the vote and we never get an electoral vote. If that principle had been adopted, Gary Johnson would have gotten 17 electoral votes in 2016. Because we got a little bit of movement here and there, 3% of that state and 3% of that state and 9% of that state, and it would have added up to 17 electoral votes. So I think people recognise that they don’t want to have an electoral candidate going to 6 or 7 states which is as you know [inaudible] exactly what happened in 2016. And it turned out that Mrs Clinton should have gone to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Michigan. She didn’t think that they were swing states! Go figure, as they say. But regrettably, it is still the case.

Nigel Evans MP
Thank you very much. [inaudible] Please could people say who they are before they ask a question?

QUESTION
[inaudible] As we watch what’s going on in the next 6 months of this election. What are the key things that we should look out for in the election to make the most to determine which way it’s going and whether the Democrats are in fact going to win?

William F. Weld
Key things to look out for in the United States? I’d look for who the nominee… Maybe not the next 6 months. I’d look for whether the Democratic centrists tend to win their primaries. If they do, that’s a good sign for the midterms and the Democrats because if it’s a loony left against a middle-of-the road Republican in a swing district, the Republican is going to win that. But if it’s a navy-war veteran, pro-business Democrat against a Republican in a marginal seat, the Democrat is going to win that seat. That’s one thing to look out for, then soon enough the Democratic contenders for 2020 are going to raise their heads out of the foxhole. The frontrunner right now is Joe Biden, the former Vice President now, and he like Mr Sanders, will be proudly 80 I think, by the time of the election. He’s in his mid-to-late 70s now. He’s a wonderful guy, been around a long time. He was chairman of the foreign relations committee, chairman of the judiciary committee. And you know, with his health and youthful appearance and his energy levels and stamina levels, if it holds, I can see him being an appealing candidate. I can see that working for him if it winds up being Joe Biden versus Trump. And there are other candidates like my old adversary but friend, John Kerry. I think he’s having another go at it. He was a nominee in 2004 and he, I suspected, his views on Donald Trump would make what I have just said look like a letter of recommendation.

So he made be involved and I think there a lot of people waiting to see whether Mr Biden does run because they don’t want to run against Mr Biden. He’s been a good faithful servant of the Democrats. Other people who might very well run is Kamala Harris, who’s a newly elected Senator in California, Black woman and Corey Booker who’s the Senator from New Jersey, also Black. These two people are very articulate. And you might think, are we going to have another Black President so soon? Could happen. Could happen. [inaudible] Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, marvellous campaigner. Black, a kind of patron of Obama. He’s 5 years older than Obama, and brought Obama along. Could happen, wonderful campaigner. And there are a bunch of other senators [inaudible] Brandon from New York, who’s spoken about I suppose that could happen as well. He’s a potential candidate as well. Middle of the road, upstate. I suppose that could happen as well. There’s a couple of senators who, just looking at their profiles I think would be very interesting candidates. No one has mentioned either of them. One is called Michael Bennet from Colorado who is just very, very smart. President of the Yale law journal. Had 6 different careers and went right to the top in all of them,. The other is a woman from She likes to work across the aisle with Republicans. She’s a liberal Democrat. Shouldn’t call them centrist, centrist-democrats, and if she ran she’d be a factor. If Bennett ran, he’d be a factor. But they’d be starting from 0%. I’d look at the type of people getting nominated in the house, [inaudible] races. And I’d be looking at which presidential contenders are emerging.

Nigel Evans MP
Next question.

QUESTION
Will the damage that Trump is doing, will be doing, eventually will it be reversible?

William F. Weld

Well, if someone gets in who thinks the opposite of Donald Trump, the first thing we’ll be doing is applying for membership of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When the TPP treaty first came up, Mr Trump trashed up that campaign saying it’s no good as it’ll be dominated by China. China’s not a member of the TPP. That was the whole point. You know, it’d be nice to have foreign policy made by someone who’s not similar to that. I guess I’m after, Mr Trump to stop talking about tearing it up, he’s talking about if it’s renegotiated it can be renegotiated again. I think that can be saved. The body blows to NATO, the insults to G6, sure, that can be reversed in a minute. After Obama and Biden won, Biden posted a big reception, he took a picture for all the labour unions, the big ceremony in the chamber there’s one sentence which said ‘Welcome back to the White House.’ As the Republicans hadn’t been particularly friendly to the Labour unions. People understand that things can turn around all the time in the United States.

The man at the back. [inaudible]

QUESTION
[inaudible] your career. If someone in the Republican Party attempts to run against him.

William F. Weld
If the third party run?

QUESTION
If a person from the Republican party attempts to stab against him, [inaudible] would you endorse him. [inaudible] Remove yourself from the consideration.

William F. Weld
Well it would all happen simultaneously. I wouldn’t be able to back a Republican running against Trump and wait for the outcome while running on the Libertarian side. I probably would on the day that say, well if Jeff Flake of Arizona announced against Donald Trump I would say, ‘Listen, I’m a Libertarian but anyone who’s a Republican could they please vote for Mr Flake’, but I’m not so sure if that would cause me to renounce anything though. My rule of thumb for myself and that’s not a unanimous view in my family, I think that the monopoly of two parties in Washington has done so much damage to policy formulation in the United States. And as I say, they live with no other thought than to hate each and to try to kill each other. My friends in New York are Democrats or Liberal Democrats at that, say ‘Well you can’t run because you might help Trump’. Or if my political friends, most of whom are Republicans would say, ‘You can’t run because we can’t run the risk of a liberal democrat will get elected. I’m inclined to say to both sides, ‘Save your breath’. Because if everybody stood down every time someone said, ‘We need a monopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties’, it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I do think there’s a path for a third-party. That would be to get to 15%. Gary Johnson was at 13% just before the debates last time and then we got a lot of negative advertising because we didn’t have the money to answer for it. Then we went from 13% to 5% in one week, but if we went to 13% to 18% in that one week, then he’d be in the presidential debates. And put me in the Presidential debates and I’ll have a good time. John Kerry and I had 8 televised debates.[inaudible] A bloody tie all summer long. It was a marquis celebration it was thought to be a very good value taken and given.

QUESTION
If President Trump is the up and coming candidate …

William F. Weld

They’ll give him a lot of support. The question is, is there a wing called the Jed Bush, Mitt Romney wing that can be peeled off of Trump. And I think, yes, I think the disdain there is too great. The feeling that this guy is not ready for primetime and never will be, is too firmly sketched. But that’s about 10%. And then you’re going to have a bunch people who were never-Trumpers in 2016 who are now considering ‘Well wait a minute, what would happen if the Dems nominate one of these left-wingers, my business can’t stand that. [inaudible] We’ll be the same people. How are you?

QUESTION
I’m great. Thank you for that. I was I was interested more of your thoughts on the possible impeachment. That’s if the Democrats [inaudible] That’d be wonderful. I’m not saying, you know no smoking guns [inaudible] Investigations [inaudible] I’m assuming that. No smoking gun.

William F. Weld
That to me would be a big move, if you look at the last impeachment [inaudible] there was a big battle, in seeing that even though this is a guy who lied to a Federal Judge, who also [inaudible] but what would you do about the politics of that [inaudible] Western leaders. What would you think about [inaudible] prevented him now.

There’s a difference between the Clinton impeachment and what the situation would be in the event of a Trump impeachment. No one cared about Bill Clinton’s trial in the Senate. He wasn’t on the ballot, he wasn’t running again, he had his two terms, out. Trump will be on the ballot. I think he’ll be the Republican nominee almost no matter what. People will pay a lot of attention to all the evidence in the Senate. . So that’s why I think it’ll be more harmful to his prospects. The Republicans are already playing that card. You have to consider the Republican national committee because otherwise the Democrats will remove our elected our President Mr Trump and we’ll be left in a banana republic. That message is out there loud and clear from the Republic. This’ll be more serious than the Clinton impeachment, which I agree with you (impeachment) I was lead cheerleader of The Clinton impeachment. [inaudible] what’s this all about [inaudible].

QUESTION
What is your personal take on the Iran deal and if you were President, would you stay in the deal?

William F. Weld
Yes I would’ve. I’m the only Republican I’ve ever met who feels that way. I think Mr Kerry deserved a lot of credit because no one wanted him to do that deal. And he really persevered. There’s a sense that it’s a gamble because by freezing Iran’s nuclear power for 10 years you allow sufficient amount of time so the opinion on the streets, so that the Iranian citizens could bring unbearable pressure to bear on the leadership. [inaudible] To let us tilt pro-Western. That’s a solitary view, though. Both parties. Not the first time for me.

QUESTION

Erica Miller, thank you for the remarks. [inaudible] Another two part question. First the tax cuts, [inaudible] Positive impact on the economy. And in the US, [inaudible] how do you think that is going to impact the midterm elections. The second part of that question on the topic of tax. Americans living overseas, [inaudible] 20,000 living in the UK alone, we struggle with a rule called FATCA it was enacted in the last administration, passed in 2010, impacted, [inaudible] really affected in 2014, [inaudible] based in taxation, really hurt small-businesses and as you know, small businesses are a key to economic growth. [inaudible] So what is your position on FATCA?

William F. Weld
First question I think is that the tax cut is going to be a major plus for Mr Trump. Really the business committee, things are still popping out of the woodwork that people didn’t know about, really complex bill., my friends in the business community are thrilled with that. But my friends in the business community, I never met a tax cut I didn’t like. I strongly support it. What was the act called again?

QUESTION
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. They are a huge data compilation agency. [inaudible] There are high compliance taxes so instead of [inaudible] people have to spend thousands of pounds to comply.

William F. Weld
It sounds bad. When I took a look at the tax in years ago, it was France, not here but I spent a lot of time with Americans abroad with their issues. If I get there in some other influential [inaudible] candidate race, I’m very happy to look that over and I’ll give you my card.

QUESTION
Thank you that would be fantastic.

QUESTION
Well that was great. [inaudible] Many defected from Korea. [inaudible] Iran’s nuclear aberrations. [inaudible] Hezbollah [inaudible] in Iraq, whether it’s in Lebanon, in Iraq, [inaudible] ambassador. [inaudible] President Obama, [inaudible] talk that he felt that he took decisions where see that now in Syria [inaudible] from the community well, [inaudible] the police [inaudible].

William F.Weld
Well that was great. Trump had Xi Jinping in the room with him when in [inaudible] when the 59 cruise missiles went out. So he was saying to Xi and was in the room, ‘We could really use China’s help on North Korea but if you don’t want to help us I’ll just do it myself.’ Some general comes in and says, ‘locked and loaded, sir’. And Trump says, ‘good.’ I don’t know if it’s a general, but a military guy asks, ‘should we go ahead, sir?’, and he said ‘yeah, it’s locked and loaded’ and he said [inaudible] ‘moron, you thought I was telling the truth?’ [inaudible] He comes back 20 minutes later and Trump says ‘Guess what I just did?’ Xi says ‘what?’ [inaudible]

‘So I just fired 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian air base to dump those chemical weapons on all those children yesterday chemical acid base.’ [inaudible] acid burns. ‘That air base is no more.’ Xi takes his own counsel for 30 seconds. 30 seconds at a time like that is a long time. He’s looking out the window when he looks around and says. ‘It’s okay, they were children, there were chemical weapons, it’s okay.’ What I couldn’t stop thinking myself, was if Xi was thinking back to the conversation 20 minutes earlier when Mr Trump said, ‘If you don’t want to help, that’s okay, I’ll do it myself’. Mr Trump certainly scored credibility on that one. As to the point you made to not bringing in other issues other than the Iran deal. All of Hamas, Hezbollah, terrible things, and I was not there but what the pros on the ground said, state department types. [inaudible] But what the pros on the ground said, if those issues haven’t been added to the agenda then it would have fallen apart. It would have been too much. I don’t know the truth of that enough but that’s certainly what the state department pros thought.

Nigel Evans MP
Governor Weld, thank you very much for coming. Thank you for coming, thank you Henry Jackson Society. You referenced 1984 earlier on, one of my favourite books by the way. Got the date wrong even though clearly it’s the title of the book. There’s something going around on Facebook right now where it says something like ‘1984, but who’d have guessed that today people would have wanted the cameras in their houses, in case someone wasn’t watching them.’

HJS



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