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Trump will speak at the Libertarian National Convention as he woos independent voters

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump will speak at the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C. later this month as he tries to woo voters beyond the Republican base and avoid losing support to independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“Libertarians are some of the most independent and thoughtful thinkers in our Country, and I am honored to join them in Washington, DC, later this month,” Trump said in a statement issued Wednesday. “We must all work together to help advance freedom and liberty for every American, and a second Trump Administration will achieve that goal.”

He went on to make the case that, “If Libertarians join me and the Republican Party, where we have many Libertarian views, the election won’t even be close. We cannot have another four years of death, destruction, and incompetence. WE WILL WORK TOGETHER AND WIN!”

The event comes as Trump’s campaign has ramped up its attacks against Kennedy, who is running as an independent against Trump and President Joe Biden after dropping his Democratic primary bid. Kennedy has appealed to disaffected Democrats and Republicans looking for an alternative to the pending rematch of the 2020 election.

Kennedy has talked up his support for the Libertarian Party, telling CNN in January that he had a “really good relationship” with the party. A Kennedy alliance with the Libertarian Party could expedite his effort to gain ballot access in all 50 states, including battlegrounds that tiny margins could decide in November, though Kennedy told ABC last month that he didn’t plan to run on the Libertarian ticket.

On Wednesday, the primary super PAC supporting Trump blasted out an old video clip of Kennedy that appeared to show him criticizing red states. “RFK hates you!” they wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Kennedy’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While Trump has insisted publicly that he believes Kennedy’s candidacy hurts him less than it does Biden, he has been lacing into him in interviews and on his social media platform.

“RFK Jr. is the most Radical Left Candidate in the race, by far,” he wrote last month on Truth Social, calling Kennedy “a big fan of the Green New Scam, and other economy killing disasters.”

Trump campaign aides also went after him on social media Wednesday, calling him “a radical leftist lunatic,” and charging that, “Any ‘conservative’ or ‘Republican’ letting this left-wing lunatic come on their platform to whitewash his decades of far-left liberal positions & activism are aiding and abetting Joe Biden.”

The Libertarian Party said in a release announcing the speech that they will share a list of their top ten issues with Trump ahead of the convention, “hoping to make an impact on the policy positions of a past, and possibly future, President.”

“For 50 years, we’ve been trying to get our candidates on the main stage with major party POTUS candidates and we’ve finally succeeded in bringing one to our stage,” said Angela McArdle, the party’s chair, in a statement. “We will do everything in our power to use this incredible opportunity to advance the message of liberty.”

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press


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