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

Republican primary challenger Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldUN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Georgia GOP submits only Trump's name for primary MORE is accusing President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe 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 Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies White House, Democrats edge closer to deal on trade 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