Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who is challenging President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination, doubled down on comments Monday that the president could face execution over asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to root out corruption.
“Governor Weld, you went a little bit further than just impeachment in your prior comments,” MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan pressed Weld. “You’ve said that Donald Trump has committed treason, and the penalty for treason under American law is death… What’s the legal framework here? Have you looked into this? How do you see this proceeding?”
Weld affirmed his stance and falsely said again that “the only penalty for treason is death,” adding that he believes Trump needs to be “carted off to save us all.”
“He’s daring us all to let him be totally lawless,” Weld said. “He has no respect for the law, he doesn’t understand the law. He has no knowledge base under any issues. Why do we want this man as president of the United States? I don’t get it, and now the path is clear.”
Weld’s claim that treason is only punishable by death is untrue. According to 18 U.S. Code § 2381, treason is punishable by either death or imprisonment of at least five years.
The president has been under heightened scrutiny for a phone call with the Ukrainian president where Trump reportedly asked the foreign leader to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter over business dealings with a Ukrainian gas company, according to an uncorroborated claim based on hearsay.
Weld is one of three candidates challenging Trump in the 2020 Republican primary. Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and former one-term Illinois congressman Joe Walsh have both also launched campaigns seeking the GOP nomination next fall.