Trump Promises Dubious Libertarians A Cabinet Slot If They Support Him

Trump Promises Dubious Libertarians A Cabinet Slot If They Support Him

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

Donald Trump on Saturday night promised members of the Libertarian Party that he would “put a libertarian in my cabinet” and commute the life sentence of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, a top demand of a political movement that intends to run its own candidate against him.

“On day one, we will commute the sentence,” said Trump, at the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention, in Washington, D.C., in offering to free the creator of what was once the internet’s most infamous drug clearinghouse. “We will bring him home.”

His speeches more typically include a pledge to execute drug dealers, citing China as a model.

“It’s time to be winners,” said Trump, asking rhetorically if third party delegates wanted to go on getting single-digit protest votes. “I’m asking for the Libertarian Party’s endorsement, or at least lots of your votes.”

It was an unexpected offer from an unprecedented speech — one of several by non-Libertarians who the party invited to address its nominating convention. Trump’s own supporters were outnumbered by Libertarian delegates who resented his presence.

A chant of “We Want Trump” was drowned out quickly by “End the Fed!” When Trump called Joe Biden a “threat to democracy,” some delegates shouted: “So are you!” He got a better reception when joking that the criminal charges against him made him a libertarian, and that he started “no new wars” in four years.

Trump wasn’t just competing for Libertarian votes at the weekend rally. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., speaking to a smaller Friday crowd, praised Libertarians for opposing COVID stay-at-home orders, vaccine mandates, and online censorship, while saying he’d pardon Ulbricht, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

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