Donald Trump “is appealing to a segment I’ll just label racist,” says Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico and the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. “It exists and it’s out there.”
“I don’t want to have anything to do with it,” says Johnson. “It embarrasses me. The electorate will paint the entire Republican Party with a broad brush as a result of Trump and it won’t be positive.” Johnson started the 2012 campaign as a Republican before switching to the LP and pulling 1.2 million votes and 1 percent of ballots cast in the general election, recent highs for a Libertarian candidate.
In announcing his presidential campaign in June, Trump asserted that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Although he allowed that “some, I assume, are good people,” NBC and other business associates cut ties the New York-based billionaire.
Going into FreedomFest, Trump was polling second in surveys of Republican primary voters. In the latest polls, Trump is leading the GOP field. At the same time, according to Gallup, 75 percent of Americans don’t consider Trump a “serious candidate.”
Reason’s Nick Gillespie interviewed Johnson during FreedomFest, an annual gathering of libertarians and conservatives that took place between July 8-11 in Las Vegas. Both Johnson and Trump spoke at the event, with the latter drawing some protests but also the biggest crowds of the conference.
A longer interview with Johnson will run tomorrow, covering his views of the rest of the GOP field and Hillary Clinton, his take on domestic and foreign policy, the future of the drug war, and more. Johnson is considering running again for the Libertarian nomination and expects to make a decision sometime over the coming months. He is also the chairman of the nonprofit Our America Initiative, which argues for balanced budgets, reform to defense and drug policy, and improved ballot and debate access for third parties. Johson is also CEO of Cannabia Sativa, a publicly traded company that markets legal cannabis products.
Produced by Meredith Bragg.
Approximately 1 minute.
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