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Video: Trump urges Libertarians to support his campaign, offers major promise

Former President of the United States Donald Trump at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., July 24, 2022. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
May 28, 2024

Former President Donald Trump promised to make room for Libertarians in his cabinet if members of the third-party voting block would back his bid to retake the White House in 2024.

Trump addressed the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, marking a rare appeal to voters of a base that has otherwise rejected the two major parties. The prospective Republican 2024 presidential nominee was met with a mix of cheers and boos as he took the stage.

“A lot of people asked why I came to speak at this Libertarian convention, and you know it’s an interesting question, isn’t it? But we’re going to have–but we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Trump began his remarks. “Well, in the last year, I’ve been indicted by the government on 91 different things. So if I wasn’t a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now. And unlike Joe Biden, I don’t throw people in jail for disagreeing with me.”

Continuing his efforts to appeal to a party that favors limiting government regulation and taxation, and maximizing civil liberties, Trump said, “We must fight for the same fundamental freedoms: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of the right to own a firearm, and freedom over taxation.”

As the raucous continued to shout, cheer, and boo throughout the speech, Trump pitched to Libertarian Party members an ultimatum: stick with their party and run a distant third place or help him retake the White House and potentially get some of their party members in a future Trump administration in return.

“What is the purpose of the Libertarian Party getting three percent? What is the reason to take a chance of having this horrible president destroy our country, which he will do in far less than four years–it’s not going to take four years,” he said. “That is why I’m committing to you tonight that I will put a Libertarian in my cabinet and also Libertarians in senior posts. Pretty good. That’s pretty big. Or you can keep going the way you have for the last long decades and get your three percent.”

Trump went on to say that if he is reelected, he would appoint a special task force to identify individuals believed to have been wrongfully prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice under President Joe Biden’s administration and begin pardoning and commuting their sentences.

“I will ensure that Libertarians are helping to lead that task force; you’ll be on that task force,” the Republican candidate said.

READ MORE: Video: Trump vows to ‘turn New York City around’ during Bronx rally

In addition to announcing the pardons and commutations task force, Trump said he would also commit to commuting the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, a 40-year-old man who was sentenced to two life sentences and another 40 years, without the possibility of parole for his role in operating an unregulated online marketplace called The Silk Road.

Ulbricht was convicted of operating a criminal enterprise and drug trafficking network because users on The Silk Road website were able to buy and sell banned narcotics, fake identification documents, and illegal software.

Ulbricht had appealed his sentence, arguing it was overly harsh for the crimes he was convicted of. During his trial, federal prosecutors had raised the prospect that Ulbricht had also engaged in multiple murder-for-hire plots. While Ulbricht was never charged or convicted for the alleged murder plots, a district court used those allegations as a basis to increase his sentence.

Calls for pardoning or commuting Ulbricht’s sentence have become popular with many Libertarians, as well as among some Libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.).