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Former President Donald Trump addressed Libertarian National Convention delegates, urging them to choose him as their presidential nominee if they want to win, and offering to appoint Libertarians to his cabinet if elected. However, his speech was met with boos and skepticism from the crowd, who prioritize small government and individual freedoms. Trump received cheers only when he promised to commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the illegal marketplace “Silk Road.” Signs in the crowd criticized Trump and his MAGA movement, with one person being taken away by security for holding up a sign that read “No wannabe dictators!”

Trump’s appearance at the convention was seen as an attempt to court voters who might otherwise support independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who also addressed the convention. The rejection of a 2020 rematch between Trump and President Biden by most voters could potentially boost support for an alternative candidate like the Libertarian nominee or Kennedy. Trump’s campaign highlighted his efforts to appeal to Libertarian voters by promising to abolish the Department of Education, stand for Second Amendment rights, and oppose the “deep state.”

During his speech, Trump emphasized his common opposition to Biden with the Libertarian crowd, leading to chants of “We want Trump!” from his supporters. However, these chants were drowned out by boos and calls to “End the Fed!” from skeptical delegates. Social media posts expressed puzzlement about Trump’s decision to address the convention, with some attendees criticizing him for his warmongering policies, handling of COVID lockdowns, failure to address the deep state, and alleged dishonesty. The Kennedy campaign reportedly handed out rubber chickens labeled “Debate Bobby” to attendees ahead of Trump’s speech as a means of mocking the former president.

The Libertarian convention speeches occurred as the Trump and Biden campaigns agreed to a series of debates leading up to the November election. Kennedy and his supporters have made efforts to be included in these debates but have not been successful so far. Secret Service agents reportedly confiscated the rubber chickens being distributed by the Kennedy campaign before attendees entered Trump’s speech. Overall, Trump’s appearance at the convention highlighted the divisions and differing priorities between the Libertarian Party and the former president, with his attempts to court their support met with skepticism and criticism.

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