Trump and RFK Jr. fail to win over Libertarian Party during chaotic convention
05/29/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

Former President Donald Trump and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. both faced hostile receptions as they attempted to woo members of the Libertarian Party during their Libertarian National Convention on May 25 in Washington, D.C.

The atmosphere turned tumultuous as Trump took the stage, with the crowd divided between jeers and boos and supportive chants. Libertarians clashed with pro-Trump attendees, which resulted in multiple people being removed from the main hall. The situation turned chaotic when several individuals interrupted and heckled Trump during his speech.

"You can either nominate us and give us the position, or give us your votes," Trump declared, only to be met with a chorus of boos. His frustration was evident as he retorted, "Keep getting your three percent [of the national vote] every four years. Maybe you don't want to win." (Related: Trump and Biden have different strategies to deal with RFK Jr.)

In a bid to resonate with the Libertarian audience, Trump advocated for the commutation of Ross Ulbricht's life sentence. Ulbricht, the founder of the dark web marketplace Silk Road, was convicted for multiple felonies related to the black market website. This stance aligns with the Libertarian Party, which advocates for the release of Ulbricht. However, the 2024 campaign announcement by Trump had previously called for the death penalty for drug dealers, which created a stark contradiction.

Meanwhile, on May 26, Kennedy, who faced a warmer reception than Trump, promoted his promise to pardon Edward Snowden, the government whistleblower exiled in Russia, and to drop the espionage charges against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.  These figures are highly regarded within the Libertarian community. Kennedy also accused Trump of constitutional violations through lockdowns and travel restrictions during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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But despite all the cheers during his proposals, some Libertarians questioned his authenticity as a candidate for their party.

Trump and RFK Jr.'s invitation to the Libertarian National Convention faces backlash

Trump and Kennedy's invitations to the convention intended to allow party members to engage with prominent figures who might influence the upcoming presidential election. The decision sparked a fierce backlash among delegates.

Arielle Shack, a Libertarian voter who traveled from New Jersey, attended Kennedy's speech in protest, which coincided with the rowdy business session.

"We don't want people that are not Libertarians here. If they don't have our principles, we're not going to vote for them," Shack said. "You're not gonna see Libertarians coming in, voting for a Kennedy, a Kennedy Democrat. He didn't get the Democratic [candidacy], so now he wants to be independent. But I think we can see right through that."

Another New Jersey delegate named Richard Edgar echoed Shack's sentiments, calling the invitation to Trump and Kennedy a "slap in the face" to Libertarian voters. He expressed disappointment that the convention, anticipated as a platform for Libertarian candidates, was overshadowed by non-Libertarians.

Michael Reeves, a 25-year Libertarian Party member from Daphne, Alabama, who initially saw a silver lining from the invitations, remained skeptical about both candidates. He cited disappointment in Trump's first term and found Kennedy's speech lackluster. He even argued that both major parties were steering the country toward greater collectivism and authoritarianism.

"I thought he had an opportunity to really make some changes in D.C., and he didn't," Reeves said about Trump. "The best we can say is that he didn't start any new wars, and that's a pretty low bar. To me, they represent essentially the same thing, the things that they disagree about are kind of minor compared to the things that they do agree about. And they make all the wrong calls on the things that they do agree about."

Libertarian Party Chair Angela McArdle tried to explain their motives behind the invitations before the event.

"For 50 years, we’ve been trying to get our candidates on the main stage with major party POTUS candidates and we’ve finally succeeded in bringing one to our stage. We will do everything in our power to use this incredible opportunity to advance the message of liberty," McArdle said.

Watch this Fox News report about the three-man race in the November 2024 presidential election.


This video is from the NewsClips channel on

More related stories:

New poll: RFK Jr. takes 22 percent of voter support in a three-way race with Biden and Trump.

Poll: RFK Jr. running as independent would help Trump, hurt Biden.

Super PAC raises more than $10M to support RFK Jr.'s presidential campaign.

Trump 'clearly hasn't learned from his COVID-era mistakes,' RFK Jr. says.

Major Trump donor also backing RFK Jr.’s presidential run, FEC filings reveal.

Sources include:

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