Trump challenges libertarians at their own convention, asking them to support him unless they want to continue “with their 3% every four years”

Before a divided and partially hostile audience, the former president earned a standing ovation from everyone present after promising a pardon for Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road website.

Former President Donald Trump finally made his long-awaited appearance at the Libertarian National Convention this Saturday. With a defiant speech, he became the first president of the United States to participate in the libertarian event, which has been held since 1972.

Trump’s speech was far from a conventional speech. After making history in the Bronx, a Democratic stronghold in New York, the former president addressed a skeptical and partly hostile crowd that was ready to boo him, criticize him and make life impossible on stage, turning a simple campaign event into an interesting political challenge for a Trump accustomed to rallies full of supporters from his base.

But Trump was counting on it.

The former president began his speech with talking points that interest libertarian voters: small government, ending government intrusion into Americans’ private lives, and fighting for “limited government so that the people can have an unlimited future.”

After beginning with his view of the future, Trump finally persuaded the skeptical present to vote for him in November: “United, we will be unstoppable. If we unite, we are unstoppable.”

At one point, he even dared to make a joke about his own perception of the government after he was accused of dozens of criminal charges in recent months:

“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."

However, the libertarian delegates, representing 50% of the public, did not buy his speech and booed him whenever they could.

In the middle, Trump supporters, distinguished by their “Make America Great Again” caps, defended the Republican leader, making their applause and “USA” chants mix with the boos and criticism of the libertarians.

At one point, Trump continued his speech by stating that he had come to the event to lend a helping hand to confront Biden. His supporters responded with a chant of “We want Trump!” while libertarians ranted again with chants of “End the Fed!”

However, this situation, certainly atypical for his political career, did not faze Trump, who even dared to challenge the libertarians at their own convention: “Only endorse me if you want to win. If you want to lose, don’t do that. Keep getting your 3% every four years.”

Trump said this just before pulling out his first trick up his sleeve to win over the public: promising to include a libertarian in his cabinet.

Although he received boos even after promising to appoint a libertarian to his cabinet, the reaction was much less critical overall, clear proof that the hostile public was beginning to give in to its intense pressure.

Later, Trump played his last card just before ending his speech: promising a pardon to Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road website.

The audience, now unequivocally, erupted with a standing ovation.

Everyone, including libertarians and MAGA supporters, began waving “Free Ross” signs.

Ulbricht is an icon of American libertarians. The FBI arrested him in 2013, two years after he founded the Silk Road website. This online market operated on the dark web and allowed the purchase and sale of goods and services, many of them illegal, according to the government’s accusations.

Ulbricht, who operated under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, computer hacking and narcotics trafficking. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

Libertarians defend him because they consider the sentence excessive and that there were procedural problems in the case, as well as many support the legalization of drugs and full freedom on the Internet.

Regardless of whether or not Trump keeps his promise if elected, the reality is that he finally finished his speech firmly and with a clear ovation, which is very different from how it started. He did so even after the independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. vehemently criticized him on Friday on the same stage before the libertarian delegates who will have to decide who they will support as a presidential candidate this Sunday, when their convention ends.

Trump’s speech also came after the libertarian delegates themselves will face about the former president’s invitation to the event, with some positioning themselves against give a platform to a leader who is not libertarian and others arguing that it was a ggreat opportunity for movement attract national attention.

The skirmishes happened even before Trump’s speech. The former president’s supporters took the front-row seats assigned to the libertarian delegates, who, in the end, had to wait for new seats so as not to lose their privileged places to listen to the Republican leader.