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

Republican primary challenger Bill WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldWeld says Trump wants reporters to 'roam free' in Iran, but not US Trump primary challengers left off Wisconsin ballot Bannon: 'We need the Republican establishment on board' to reelect Trump MORE is accusing President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign 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 KushnerDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Jared Kushner's sister-in-law Karlie Kloss says she will vote against Trump in 2020 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate receives impeachment articles as trial opens 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