GOP challenger Weld denounces Trump's 'pathetic' boasting in El Paso

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Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor and now a Republican presidential candidate, called President Trump “pathetic” for bragging about crowd sizes while visiting victims and medical staff at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, after a mass shooting left 22 dead and dozens injured.

“He went out, as he should have, to the sites of the shootings and he said, ‘Boy, you should have seen the respect that was paid to the office of the president of the United States. People were really looking up to me because I came and visited these people in the hospital.’ He has to hear that praise. If he doesn’t hear it from the people sitting in the table around him, he’ll praise himself,” Weld said in an interview with Yahoo News at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) annual convention in Hollywood, Fla.

Democratic candidates Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg also spoke at the meeting.

Weld said Trump’s performance in El Paso was “pathetic.”

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld (R-MA) and President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he visits the El Paso Regional Communications Center after meeting with people affected by the El Paso mass shooting. (Photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, Evan Vucci/AP)
Bill Weld and President Trump (Photos: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, Evan Vucci/AP)

On the Monday after 31 people were killed in back-to-back mass shootings over the Aug. 3-4 weekend, Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy” while blaming the internet, video games and mental illness for the massacres. He later said he would like to see stricter background checks, before setting out to visit victims, first responders and law enforcement in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

While visiting the University Medical Center of El Paso, Trump compared a “Make America Great Again” rally he held earlier this year in El Paso to a rally by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native and Democratic presidential candidate.

“It’s an honor to be with you,” he said, addressing hospital employees. “Look at this group of people, can you believe this? I was here three months ago, we made a speech. And we had a — what was the name of the arena? That place was packed, right?”

When a hospital employee said they attended the campaign rally earlier this year, Trump said, “That was some crowd. We had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had, like, 400 people in a parking lot, and they said his crowd was wonderful.”

O’Rourke, who had declared Trump a white supremacist after the attack in his hometown, responded in a tweet, saying, “This community is focused on healing. Not hatred. Not racism. Certainly not crowd sizes.”

After his visits to El Paso and Dayton, Trump told reporters he had “an amazing day.”

"The love, the respect, for the office of the presidency, it was — I wish you could have been in there to see it," he said.

Weld called Trump “personally insecure,” saying, “It’s why he demands to be praised all the time.”

After the shootings, Weld said that “the president has blood on his hands,” condemning the attack as white nationalist terrorism and linking it to Trump's rhetoric, as many critics did.

“The man spews venom almost every time he opens his mouth,” Weld said. “And he goes right after people by race and religion.”

He continued: “Mr. Trump’s first instinct is always to thrust the individual in a corner, and the more helpless the individual, the better.”

“The guy is absolutely haywire,” added Weld, who ran for vice president as a Libertarian in 2016. “He’s getting more unhinged as the weeks and months roll by, and if he doesn’t suck it up and change course somehow, I think he’s going down big-time in 2020.

“And I think he’s going to take the majority of the Republican elected officials in Washington with him.”


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