What is the Trump ‘squeaky chicken’ Libertarian controversy?

Rubber, squeaky chickens were handed out this weekend at the Libertarian Party convention in Washington, D.C., to call on former President Trump to debate independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The rubber chickens, which had the words “Debate Bobby” on them were passed out by the pro-Kennedy American Values 2024 super PAC at the weekend convention, where Trump was met with a raucous crowd and a mix of boos and cheers.

Tony Lyons, the co-chair of American Values 2024, confirmed to The Hill that the group distributed the rubber chickens to attendees Saturday.

“Biden and Trump are scared to death to debate Bobby because they know what the voting public is learning rapidly—that Bobby Kennedy can win, that he alone will end the corruption, end the wars, end the chronic disease epidemic and rebuild the middle class, the engine of our democracy,” Lyons said in a statement.

In one video of Trump’s Saturday address, an apparent silhouette of a rubber chicken could be seen being held up by an audience member.

CNN reported that Secret Service agents confiscated some of the rubber chickens ahead of Trump’s speech.

Nate Herring, a spokesperon for the U.S. Secret Service, told The Hill the agency often publishes a list of prohibited items that are not permitted in protected sites.

“Although this list specifically identifies several objects that are not allowed in secure areas, the list also includes a general prohibition on any items determined, at the agent’s discretion, to be a potential safety hazard or disruptive to the event,” Herring wrote in a statement.

Both Trump and Kennedy were speakers at the convention in an attempt to shore up Libertarian support ahead of November.

Photo provided by American Values 2024

Earlier this month, Kennedy began his calls for Trump to formally debate him at the convention, calling it “perfect neutral territory” for the two presidential candidates.

“You yourself have said you’re not afraid to debate me as long as my poll numbers are decent,” Kennedy wrote in a lengthy post on the social platform X earlier this month. “Well, they are. In fact, I’m the only presidential candidate in history who has polled ahead of both major party candidates in head-to-head races.”

Both President Biden and Trump, who are their respective parties’ presumptive nominees, have already agreed to two general election debates, both of which Kennedy has been left out of.

This could change if he meets the debate threshold, which requires 15 percent support in four national polls and making the ballot in enough states to hypothetically secure 270 electoral votes.

Kennedy argued being left out of the two general election debates “undermines democracy,” writing, “Presidents Trump and Biden are colluding to lock America into a head-to-head match-up that 70% say they do not want.”

Trump said he would have “no problem” having Kennedy join the presidential debate stage with Biden if he meets the threshold.

Neither Kennedy’s nor Trump’s campaign immediately responded to The Hill’s request for comment.

The environmental lawyer, who switched to an independent ticket last fall following a failed primary bid as a Democrat, has argued the presumptive party nominees are unfit to continue serving.

While he is looking to appear uniformly against Biden and Trump on the ballot in all 50 states, political strategists predict he likely only needs a few significant states to create a “spoiler” effect.

Most national polling has recently suggested Kennedy could damage Biden’s numbers more than Trump’s in a hypothetical general election scenario.

Kennedy still trails far behind Biden and Trump, securing about 8.3 percent of the vote, compared to Trump with about 41.8 percent and Biden with 40.1 percent, according to a polling index by The Hill and Decision Desk HQ.

Kennedy spoke at the convention a day ahead of Trump, making a series of attacks against the former president over his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filip Timotija contributed

Updated at 9:05 pm.

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