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‘Keep Getting Your 3%’: Trump Mocks Libertarians In Bid To Win Their Votes

WASHINGTON – In a speech that began and ended with overwhelming boos, Donald Trump on Saturday tried to court libertarian voters at their party’s national convention by telling them to support him or keep being losers.

“You should nominate me or at least vote for me,” the Republican presidential hopeful told the crowd of libertarian delegates, to boos.

“Only do that if you want to win,” he continued. “If you want to lose, don’t do that. Keep getting your three percent every four years.”

The twice-impeached former president was jeered at almost every turn. At least one person was visibly dangling a rubber chicken with “Debate Bobby” on it, a message taunting Trump for ignoring a request earlier this month by independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to debate him at the libertarian gathering.

Libertarian delegates jeer Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump as he speaks at the Libertarian National Convention at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Libertarian delegates jeer Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump as he speaks at the Libertarian National Convention at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) via Associated Press

There were pockets of Trump supporters at the event, and they tried to drown out all the boos with “We want Trump!” chants.

But they were outnumbered. And there was already drama brewing between them and libertarians before Trump’s event began. Organizers asked Trump’s supporters to clear the front rows for libertarian delegates, who will decide Sunday which candidate to endorse. This reshuffling infuriated Trump loyalists, who declared the situation “an ambush.”

It was never a great idea for Trump to speak at this event. Libertarians have been skeptical of him, if not outright hostile toward him, and those tensions were on full display in Saturday’s speech.

The reason he spoke at this event at all is because the election is shaping up to be tight, and he, like President Joe Biden, wants to woo voters who may otherwise be considering supporting Kennedy. Even if Kennedy were to get just a couple of percentage points, it could potentially decide whether Biden or Trump gets a second term in the White House.

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Trump got booed a lot at the Libertarian National Convention.
Trump got booed a lot at the Libertarian National Convention. via Associated Press

Amid the drama, Trump plowed ahead with his remarks, with promises of rewards for libertarians who help him get elected. He vowed to put libertarians in his cabinet and in top White House posts. He threw out policy ideas he figured would appeal to libertarians, like denying federal money to schools with mask mandates and barring the creation of a central bank digital currency.

He even quoted Patrick Henry, because why not: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

But the Republican presidential hopeful kept drifting back to insulting the group of people he was supposedly trying to win over.

“I’m asking for the Libertarian Party’s endorsement, or at least for your votes,” Trump said later to loud boos. “Lots and lots of libertarian votes.”

“Or you can keep going the way you have for the last long decades and get your three percent, and then meet again, get another three percent,” he continued. “It’s time to be winners.”

After Trump’s speech, William Redpath, a former chair and three-time treasurer of the Libertarian Party, wondered why Trump spoke to the group at all.

“When I heard on May 1 that Donald Trump was actually going to speak at the Libertarian Party convention, it hit me like a ton of bricks,” he said in a statement.

“It’s bad enough for a [Libertarian Party] national convention to allow a rival presidential candidate to promote his candidacy,” Redpath said. “But, to invite Donald Trump to speak is beyond the pale. This is where the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ philosophy takes you.”

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