Potential GOP primary challenger: Trump's 'contempt for the American people' behind possible bid

The first Republican to announce he is considering a primary challenge to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE said he’s doing so because Trump has shown “contempt for the American people.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) told CNN Monday that Trump’s 2017 Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then Ambassador Sergey Kislyak struck a bad tone with him, priming him to consider a run against Trump.

"That showed contempt for the American people if anything I've ever seen does,” Weld said.

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Weld last week announced he was launching an exploratory committee for the presidency. The long-shot candidate said his success will hinge around his ability to generate the support of independent voters as the Republican Party continues to “close ranks” around Trump.

"There's a very conservative group, not my base for sure," Weld told CNN. "There are 20 primaries where independents and unenrolled voters can come in and vote in the Republican primary. Those will have my attention."

Weld in 2016 was Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonThe Trump strategy: Dare the Democrats to win Trump challenger: 'All bets are off' if I win New Hampshire primary Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE’s vice presidential pick. He recently changed his party affiliation to Republican in the lead up to the launch of his exploratory committee.

While he said he had considered staying with the Libertarian Party in 2020, he decided he wanted to challenge Trump directly.

“I thought about the Libertarian Party again, but I decided I really wanted to go mano a mano with Mr. Trump," Weld said.