Two Republicans Challenging Trump In 2020 Support Impeachment

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Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld debate each other at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit Monday.

Ryan Garza

(Updated: 11:29 a.m. EST, 10/28/2019)

Topline: Bill Weld and Joe Walsh said they support the impeachment of Donald Trump, while Mark Sanford disagreed, as the three challengers to Trump for the 2020 GOP nomination squared off during a debate at Forbes ‘ 30 Under 30 summit in Detroit Monday.

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  • The candidates were quick to criticize Trump⁠-Walsh, a former U.S. representative from Illinois, called him a “horrible human being” and that he “can’t stand the fact that he kisses Kim Jong Un’s feet,” while Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, said the Senate needs to remove Trump from office so the country can move on.
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  • Sanford, former South Carolina governor, said Trump needs to be beat in an election, saying, “If you want to kill him off, you have to kill him off at the ballot box.”
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  • Weld, who described himself as a “a millennial trapped in a boomer’s body,” also said he wants to allow actual millennials to vote using their cell phones, while Walsh believes the GOP needs to appeal to younger voters, saying “we old white guys” need to make a compelling case for conservative politics.
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  • When it comes to climate change, Walsh supports a carbon tax, Weld wants to change carbon pricing and Sanford expressed an interest in nuclear energy.
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  • Walsh issued a dire warning about the GOP’s future, saying “If the Republican Party does not wake up to this issue of climate change, the Republican Party will die.”
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  • Trump was also invited to participate in Monday’s debate, but did not appear.

Big number: 1%. That’s the percentage of Trump’s $165 million campaign coffers that Weld, Walsh and Sanford have raised, combined ($1.6 million).

Key background: Weld, the first Trump challenger, announced his primary bid in April. He was followed by Walsh in August and Sanford in September. Weld ran during the 2016 election as the Libertarian party’s vice-presidential candidate and switched his party affiliation for 2020. But it’s unlikely any of the three men will have supporters at the Republican national convention, because 37 states and territories changed their rules governing how delegates are assigned to candidates.

Tangent: Five states (Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina) cancelled their 2020 GOP primaries after the Republican National Committee said in February that Trump would have its undivided support. Weld, Walsh and Sanford published a joint September op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing the cancellations as “a critical mistake.”

What to watch for: If any other Republicans attempt to primary Trump. Former Ohio governor John Kasich, who ran for president in the last election, said in November 2018 he was “very seriously” considering another run. He then said in August he didn’t see a path to secure the nomination over Trump, but also said could change his opinion in the coming months.

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I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: G