Election 2020

Libertarian Party Asks Pence to Drop Out and Endorse Johnson

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence meets with audience members during a campaign stop in Gettysburg, Pa., on Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Libertarian Party is asking Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to quit as Donald Trump’s running mate and publicly endorse former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president.

In an open letter to Pence late Saturday, Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark acknowledged it’s “a painful time” for Pence.

“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” Pence said in a statement released Saturday. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people.”

“We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.”

Pence cancelled an event with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in Wisconsin on Saturday. He has one campaign event scheduled Monday in Charlotte.

“I know you pride yourself on your family values and faith,” Sarwark wrote to Pence. “The recent revelation of your running mate’s bragging about sexual assault flies in the face of everything you, and every decent American, believes in. It is now abundantly clear that Donald Trump does not have the character appropriate to be the next President of the United States.”

“You and I may not agree on some other things but I know we can agree that Hillary Clinton also does not have the character appropriate to be the next President of the United States. At this point, there is no path forward for Donald Trump to win this race. And, as I’m sure you are aware, it is too late to reprint ballots with any other name for the Republican ticket.”

Sarwark appealed to Pence as chairman of the Libertarian Party to “help us block Hillary Clinton from becoming president.”

“I am asking you to put your country ahead of your party by resigning from the Republican ticket and publicly endorsing Governor Gary Johnson for president,” he wrote. “Governor Gary Johnson is an experienced leader and a man of character. If elected, he will govern fairly and honestly. As you know, he has a track record of working across party lines and would continue this inclusiveness if elected president.”

The Libertarian ticket of Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, which will be on all states’ ballots, is “our best shot at getting a president that is qualified for the office, both in character and experience,” Sarwark argued.

“By endorsing Governor Johnson, you would show the country your commitment to character above party. By helping elect a man of integrity to the highest office in the land, you could very truly help save your country,” the chairman continued. “The stakes could not be higher. Please join me today in ensuring that Hillary Clinton does not become president.”

In the four-way Real Clear Politics polling average, Johnson has 6.5 percent. Clinton has 44.1 percent, Trump is at 40.9 percent and Jill Stein is 2.3 percent.