Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a challenger to Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, spoke in dire terms Monday of Trump’s recent dealings with Ukraine:

‘Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a U.S. election. That’s not just undermining democratic institutions. That is treason. It’s treason pure and simple, and the penalty for treason under the U.S. code is death. That’s the only penalty.’

Weld, fresh off a much-discussed joint op-ed with fellow Republican presidential candidates Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh, explained in a Monday interview on MSNBC that Trump should consider resigning amid the controversy. “That might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he could work out a plea deal,” he said.

As Weld’s comments spread across the internet, one journalist cautioned that Trump’s actions did not qualify for the treason label:

Watch the MSNBC interview:

The Trump administration responded, blaming the press rather than the intraparty challenger for broaching the treason topic. “The media’s affliction with Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven them into an actual discussion of the proposed execution of the President of the United States,” communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox News. “In severe cases of TDS such as this, immediate consultation with a physician is recommended.”

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