Weld: Trump using border wall as a 'scare tactic'

Republican primary challenger Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldVermont governor, running for reelection, won't campaign or raise money The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE is accusing President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE of using the border wall as a "scare tactic" for his own political benefit. 

”The president has used that as a scare tactic to try and make people people who feel some economic risk in the United States," he said last month referring to Trump's push for a border wall. "That there are all kinds of brown people coming across Mexican border who are going to take their job and ravaged their wife, so that they are filled with resentment.” 

“He thinks it’s in his political interest to have everybody in the United States angry at some other group,” the former Massachusetts governor added.

Trump made the construction of a wall along the southern border central to both his campaign and tenure in office.

After a bitter debate with Democrats over the issue, Trump is reportedly pushing to get 450 miles of barriers along the border finished before the 2020 election and the president has put his son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump poses for controversial photo op at DC church amid protests Tucker Carlson tees off on Trump, Kushner: 'People will not forgive weakness' Trump's strategy to stay in office MORE, in charge of the task.

According to a Washington Post report on Monday, current and former administration have said that Kushner has taken the lead on the project, holding biweekly meetings to go cover the progress of the wall.

Weld said while he believes securing the border is crucial, the president’s approach is not the right way to address the issue.

"We do need a secure border," he told Hill.TV. "Most experts — Homeland Security experts — will tell you that you get that with more people, more border patrol agents, more judges so you can process the claims for refugees and asylum."

“There’s some real brick-and-mortar construction to be done there as well but not a fixation,” he added later.

Weld is one of two Republicans challenging Trump for the party's nomination. His bid is considered a long shot, given that Trump boasts near-solid support among GOP voters.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to Hill.TV's request for comment. 

—Tess Bonn