Trump booed at Libertarian convention

Donald Trump was booed repeatedly during an appearance at the Libertarian Party's national convention on Saturday as he asked members for their support.

Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told the party's delegates to unite with him to beat Democrat Joe Biden.

"We must work together," he said. "Combine with us. You have to combine with us."

The request was met with vigorous jeers from the Libertarian party members, gathered in Washington to pick their White House nominee.

Libertarians, who favour small government and individual freedom, typically lean to the right on issues like federal spending and gun rights.

But Mr Trump's invitation to the convention divided the party, with many members decrying his Covid-19 policies while in office, as well as the national debt accrued under his watch.

Despite the icy welcome, the Republican pressed on with his half-hour speech, saying he'd come "to extend a hand of friendship" and pledging to include a Libertarian in his cabinet if elected.

Many in the crowd heckled in disbelief.

He claimed that much of his past record was libertarian, using examples of tax cuts and the defunding of federal equality programmes.

The former president also tried humour, saying his four criminal indictments had convinced him to join forces with the party.

"If I wasn't a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now," he said.

Libertarian delegates hold up signs protesting Donald Trump
[Getty Images]

Not everyone in the crowd could be won over.

Delegates joined in chants of "End the Fed" - a common refrain among Libertarians who oppose the Federal Reserve.

One person holding a sign that said "No wannabe dictators" was removed by security.

Mr Trump, used to speaking before large crowds of adoring supporters, appeared visibly frustrated and took to mocking the crowd before him.

"Only do that if you want to win," Mr Trump said of supporting him for president. "If you want to lose, don't do that. Keep getting your 3% every four years."

Libertarians have typically earned around 3% of the popular vote in past US presidential elections.

But with such a close race between Mr Trump and President Joe Biden, allies of both candidates have expressed concern about third-party threats, including that of independent candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr, who gave his own Libertarian convention speech on Friday.

'We're not going to vote for them'

Arielle Shack, a Libertarian voter, said she had travelled to the convention from New Jersey to show her opposition to allowing Mr Kennedy and Mr Trump to speak.

"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 told the BBC's news partner CBS.

Michael Reeves, a Libertarian delegate from Daphne, Alabama said he was "disappointed" by Mr Trump's first term in the White House.

"I thought he had an opportunity to really make some changes in DC, and he didn't," Mr Reeves said. "The best we can say is that he didn't start any new wars, and that's a pretty low bar."

He added that both Democrats and Republicans are moving the country towards a "more collectivist and authoritarian state".