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Watch: Trump Booed, Heckled, Cheered At Rowdy Libertarian Convention — Mocks Party’s Poor Performance

Venturing beyond his typical audience of uniformly-adoring supporters, Donald Trump was showered with boos, heckling but also applause as he addressed the Libertarian National Convention in Washington DC on Saturday night. 

The very idea of his speech was unusual. As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noted when it was announced weeks ago, “Even for the Libertarian Party, inviting another party’s 2024 nominee to speak even as it nominates a candidate to oppose them is something.”

Between that dynamic and the fact that Trump’s resume is full of items that are repulsive to libertarians, the party’s invitation was deeply controversial…as evidenced by this delegate’s motion on Friday:  

In addition to party delegates, Saturday’s crowd also included Trump supporters who bought tickets to the event. When they periodically broke out in chants of “WE WANT TRUMP,” libertarians drowned them out with “END THE FED.”

There was tension between the camps before Trump even took the stage. Having been dismissed from the convention proceedings, party delegates entered the hall where Trump would be speaking to find that Trump supporters who’d purchased spectator tickets were already in the front rows — despite previous assurances from party chairwoman Angela McArdle that delegates would get the best seats. Verbal battles escalated into fisticuffs. 

Trump speech attendees exchange blows; controversy over seating privileges caused arguments between convention delegates and Trump supporters who bought tickets (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Trump received wide applause when he spoke in support of various libertarian positions, but each time he told the audience that they must join with him to defeat Biden and the Democrats, boos erupted. The crowd dialed its booing up to 11 when Trump went so far as to say the Libertarian Party should make him their nominee.

Trump responded to the jeers by making fun of the party’s lackluster quadrennial showing. “Only if you want to win,” he said. “Maybe you don’t wanna win. If you wanna lose, don’t do [nominate me]. Keep getting your 3% every four years.” 

By far, the most sustained applause came when Trump announced that, if elected, he will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, who created and ran the Silk Road website from 2011 to 2013. Users flocked to that dark web platform to engage in all manner of secret transactions such as the purchase and sale of illegal drugs. In what many view as a grossly disproportionate sentence, Ulbricht was condemned to a life sentence. 

Many in the crowd held FREE ROSS signs, and chanted the slogan earlier in Trump’s speech…and again after he announced his promise: 

He also vowed to ensure a secure future for crypto, to include self-custody, saying “I will keep Elizabeth Warren and her goons away from your Bitcoin.” He also vowed to block the creation of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).  

Trump promised libertarians a presence in his administration. “I’m committing to you tonight, that I will put a libertarian in my cabinet, and also libertarians in senior posts,” said Trump. Reuters reports that some skeptical members of the audience responded by yelling “BULLSHIT!” 

In a reaction that probably confused Trump and his team, the crowd booed when he touted his nomination from the National Rifle Association, as many libertarians view the NRA as a weak and inconsistent defender of gun rights, with a tendency to pander to police: 

Trump’s unusual appearance at the convention is indicative of the perceived tightness of the 2024 race. One of the wildcards contributing to the uncertainty is independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, who himself spoke to the convention on Friday. Kennedy reiterated his promise to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. He’s previously said he would take a look at Ulbricht’s case. 

In the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump is ahead of Biden by 2.4% in a five-way race: 

  • Donald Trump: 41.7%
  • Joe Biden: 39.3%
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr: 10.5%
  • Cornel West: 1.7%
  • Jill Stein: 1.5%

Of course, the national numbers only mean so much — the election will be decided in seven battleground states. According to new numbers from the Cook Political Report survey, Trump is winning in six and tied in one: 

  • Arizona: Trump + 4%
  • Georgia: Trump +4% 
  • Michigan: Trump +3%
  • Nevada: Trump +8%
  • North Carolina: Trump +8%
  • Pennsylvania: Trump +3%
  • Wisconsin: Tied 

One thing’s certain: Trump is the most entertaining of the bunch

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TruthPukes Take:

  • Trump just won over the Libertarians that have been booing him by saying “If you vote for me, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht”This man is a political genius, he could’ve said that at the start but he allowed them to boo him and then cheer for him, now… pic.
  • Controversy over seating privileges caused arguments between convention delegates and Trump supporters who bought tickets (Brian Snyder/Reuters)Trump received wide applause when he spoke in support of various libertarian positions, but each time he told the audience that they must join with him to defeat Biden and the Democrats, boos erupted.
  • “I’m committing to you tonight, that I will put a libertarian in my cabinet, and also libertarians in senior posts,” said Trump.
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