iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld isn’t counting Donald Trump out of the running in the aftermath of last week’s revelation that he made lewd comments about women in 2005.
“I wouldn’t say I am confident that he is out of it,” said Weld. “You can’t discount the possibility that there are a lot of people out there that don’t want to tell the pollsters that they are voting for Donald J. Trump.”
When asked by ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and ABC’s Brad Mielke on ABC’s Powerhouse Politics Podcast Thursday whether vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence would distance himself from Trump, Weld said that Pence is “all that is sticking between the Republican Party and the … potentially free-fall situation.”
“I think [Pence] is helping Trump a lot just by being there. So I wouldn’t look for him to do an open break,” Weld said, adding that, because Pence is socially conservative, he was most likely to be troubled by the lewd Trump tapes.
Weld also shared his opinion that his Libertarian running mate, Gary Johnson, will win several states on Nov. 8.
“I think Gary can win states. Even without a break, he can win states in the inner mountain west and even in New England,” said Weld, who believes that help could come in the form of publicity, “if we became catnip to the national press.”
The former Massachusetts governor was steadfast in his belief that the message of Libertarians is a winning one.
“Our objective is to maximize the happiness and the prosperity and the liberty of people in the United States,” said Weld. “[Libertarians] don’t want a great big behemoth government living their lives for them and telling them how to live their lives. And on the other side, they are very emphatic about property rights and maximizing prosperity and being socially welcoming and inclusive.”
As for whether he’ll continue to identify as a Libertarian after the election, the former Republican said he’s “feeling pretty comfortable.”
“I never bought the social policies of the Republicans,” said Weld. “Gary and I don’t hate anybody. The two major parties in Washington hate each other. They exist mainly for the purpose of impeding and killing each other and that is the same for the two presidential campaigns.
“I don’t think that is good for the country,” he added. “The person I think most has contributed to that is Mr. Trump with his strategy of trying to stir up envy and resentment and even rage and to set group against group. That is the opposite of the way presidential campaigns should be waged.”
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