Who are Republicans challenging Trump for 2020 nomination?

Only 2 candidates are vying to defeat Trump for Republican nomination in 2020 presidential race.

    President Donald Trump is facing only two challengers for the Republican presidential nomination [File: Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]
    President Donald Trump is facing only two challengers for the Republican presidential nomination [File: Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]

    While the pool of Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination is among the largest and most diverse in the history of the United States, President Donald Trump faces a much smaller cadre of challengers for the Republican ticket in 2020. 

    Currently, only two opponents remain in the race against Trump, in contrast to the 18 contenders in the Democratic field.

    In a statement in April, the Republican National Convention said that the Republican Party is firmly behind Trump and "any effort to challenge the president's nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere", prompting criticism that Republican leaders are making it impossible for another candidate to succeed. 

    Earlier this month, Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, suspended what was considered a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination. 

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    In announcing the end of his campaign, Sanford said the continuing House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into the president "has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now".

    "Impeachment noise has moved what was hard to herculean as nearly everything in Republican Party politics is currently viewed through the prism of impeachment," he added. 

    Left in the race are former US Representative Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

    Although Sanford largely focused on his diverging policy positions with the Trump administration, Walsh and Weld have concentrated more on the president's conduct in office. 

    Here is a look at the Republicans challenging Trump.

    Bill Weld, 74

    Bill Weld is a former Massachusetts governor who served two terms from 1991 to 1997. He ran unsuccessfully for vice president in 2016 as a Libertarian. He was the first Republican to challenge Trump for the Republican ticket. 

    Weld, a party outsider with fiscally conservative but socially liberal views, has been a persistent critic of Trump, framing his challenge to the president as an act of duty. 

    "I really think if we have six more years of the same stuff we've had out of the White House the last two years that would be a political tragedy," he said on CNN upon announcing his run in April. "So, I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't raise my hand and run."

    Bill Weld
    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld said he would be 'ashamed' if he didn't challenge Trump [File: Julius Constantine Motal/The Associated Press]

    Weld is running on a platform of "respect for rule of law", "responsible fiscal restraint", and "ensuring and protecting individual liberties for every single American", according to his campaign website, and is targeting Republicans who embrace libertarian values of small government, free markets, and personal freedom.

    The former governor has promised to cut waste to reduce taxes. He is pro-abortion rights and has called for immigration policies that give broader access to visas and working permits for immigrants. He has previously supported bans on assault weapons and supported overturning California's ban on gay marriage. He has said climate change is real and caused by humans. 

    In foreign policy, Weld has strongly opposed nuclear proliferation without oversight and has supported rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He has said he would withdraw US troops from Afghanistan

    In an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe programme in September, Weld said Trump was guilty of "treason" for pressuring Ukraine to investigate the son of political rival, Joe Biden. He added the penalty for treason is "death". 

    Joe Walsh, 57

    Joe Walsh represented the Chicago suburbs of the 8th district of Illinois after being elected to Congress in 2010. He ran as a member of the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement. He was defeated by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in 2012. 

    Walsh, now the host of a conservative Chicago-area radio talk show, has become a vocal critic of Trump, saying he is not a true conservative and is unfit for public office. In a video announcing his candidacy in August, Walsh said Trump was a compulsive liar who "we all know" is unfit for the White House. 

    Walsh is running on a platform of "common sense" tax cuts and a "range of free-market conservative principles", according to his website, and tends to have both fiscally and socially conservative views. 

    Walsh came out firmly against abortion in his 2010 Congressional run, and in a 2012 debate, caused a stir when he denied there was a need for exceptions when a woman's life is threatened by pregnancy. 

    He has criticised both the immigration policies of former President Barack Obama and Trump, calling them inhumane. In a September interview with PBS, he said he supports building a wall on the border, but the asylum process needs to be streamlined.

    Joe Walsh
    Republican presidential candidate and former US Representative Joe Walsh has said the president is unfit to serve [File: Julius Constantine Motal/The Associated Press]

    In the same interview, Walsh acknowledged that humans have had an effect on global warming and that Republicans need to acknowledge the problem.

    In foreign policy, Walsh is staunchly pro Israel. He has said he would withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. He also faced criticism for embracing far-right European figure Marine Le Pen, a former French presidential candidate who has been accused of stoking Islamophobia. 

    Walsh, in an appearance on CNN in October, called Trump a "traitor" for his dealings with Ukraine and said he "deserves to be impeached". 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies