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Donald Trump heckled and booed at Libertarian convention

Video caption, Donald Trump faced a divided audience for his speech at the Libertarian convention

  • Author, Holly Honderich
  • Role, in Washington

Donald Trump was repeatedly booed during an appearance at the Libertarian Party’s national convention Saturday as he asked members for their support.

Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, asked party delegates to unite with him to beat Democrat Joe Biden.

“We have to work together,” he said. “Combine with us. You must combine with us.”

This request was met with vigorous boos from members of the Libertarian Party, gathered in Washington to choose their candidate for the White House.

Libertarians, who favor small government and individual liberty, generally lean to the right on issues such as federal spending and gun rights.

But Mr. Trump’s invitation to the convention has divided the party, with many members denouncing his Covid-19 policies during his tenure, as well as the national debt accumulated under his leadership.

Despite the frosty reception, the Republican continued his half-hour speech, saying he had come “to extend a hand of friendship” and pledging to include a libertarian in his cabinet if elected .

Many in the crowd heckled in disbelief.

He claimed that much of his past was libertarian, using examples of tax cuts and defunding federal equality programs.

“If I wasn’t a libertarian before, I certainly am now,” he said.

Image source, Getty Images

Not everyone in the crowd could be won over.

Delegates joined in chants of “End the Fed” — a common refrain among libertarians who oppose the Federal Reserve.

A person holding a sign reading “No wannabe dictators” was removed by security.

Mr. Trump, accustomed to speaking in front of large crowds of adoring supporters, appeared visibly frustrated and began taunting the crowd in front of him.

“Only do this if you want to win,” Mr. Trump said of supporting the presidency. “If you want to lose, don’t do this. Keep getting your 3% every four years.”

Libertarians have generally received around 3% of the popular vote in recent US presidential elections.

But with the race so close between Mr. Trump and President Joe Biden, allies of both candidates have expressed concern about threats from third parties, including that of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who gave his own speech Friday in the libertarian convention.

“We are not going to vote for them”

Arielle Shack, a Libertarian voter, said she had traveled to the convention from New Jersey to show her opposition to allowing Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Trump to speak.

“We don’t want people here who aren’t libertarians. If they don’t adhere to our principles, we’re not going to vote for them,” Shack told BBC news partner CBS.

Michael Reeves, a Libertarian delegate from Daphne, Alabama, said he was “disappointed” by Mr. Trump’s first term in the White House.

“I thought he had an opportunity to make real change in Washington, but he didn’t,” Mr. Reeves said. “The best we can say is that he hasn’t started any new wars, and that’s a pretty low bar.”

He added that Democrats and Republicans were moving the country toward a “more collectivist and authoritarian state.”

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