Libertarians' Sustained Boos Greet Trump

Convention doesn't buy suggestion that the party nominate the GOP candidate
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2024 11:45 AM CDT
Libertarians Try to Drown Out Trump Speech
Libertarian delegates jeer Donald Trump as he speaks at the Libertarian National Convention at the Washington Hilton in Washington on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Donald Trump sought an invitation to address the Libertarian National Convention, the first such appearance by a current or former president, but he may have gotten more than he bargained for. The delegates loudly and persistently booed, jeered, and heckled the Republican presidential candidate during his speech Saturday night in Washington, the Washington Post reports. The crowd lacked the united, celebratory flavor of those at Trump rallies; at one point, a Trump supporter and libertarian activist began a fistfight that ended with security guards removing the libertarian.

Among the boos lines was Trump's suggestion that the convention make him the party's nominee for president. After the loud response, Trump told the crowd, per the Hill: "Only do that if you want to win. If you want to lose don't do that. Keep getting your 3% every four years." The booing then became louder, per the New York Times. The most positive response was for Trump's promise to pardon Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind of the online drug market Silk Road who's serving a life prison term, if elected. Libertarians oppose the criminalization of drugs and have criticized Trump for not pardoning Ulbricht during his term.

Trump's criticism of government bureaucracy and regulation also went over well. But overall, he looked frustrated and seemed to rush through his prepared speech, per the Times, avoiding the usual detours of his rallies. The candidate left after 34 minutes, per CNN, making the address one of his shortest campaign speeches yet. Chase Oliver, who also is running for president, said afterward that he was pleased by his party's heckling. "While I think it was a mistake to have invited Donald Trump, I'm glad he got to see a glimpse of what a real libertarian reception feels like," Oliver said. (More Donald Trump 2024 stories.)

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