WASHINGTON — The Libertarian Party declared President Trump to be “the opposite of a Libertarian” after observing his drug policy, foreign policy and recent selection of former UN Ambassador John Bolton to be his national security advisor.
In a Wednesday press release, the party noted that in 2016 “some libertarian-leaning voters wanted to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt” because the candidate talked about drastic reductions in spending and taxation as well as cuts in foreign aid and less intervention abroad. “He even leaned toward allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies,” the party added. “Whatever libertarian impulses Trump the candidate seemed to have, though, his actual performance as president stands in stark contrast.”
The party gave Trump a “moderately Libertarian” rating on his campaign-trail drug policy, like leaving marijuana legalization up to states, but lashed out at moves by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rein in legalized pot. They also slammed Trump’s recent musings that drug dealers should get the death penalty, followed by Sessions’ guidance “to aggressively prosecute drug traffickers and …use federal law to seek the death penalty wherever appropriate.”
“When Trump visited the Philippines last fall, he went out of his way to praise the tyrannical President Rodrigo Duterte, calling him by his first name and saying they ‘had a great relationship,'” the party statement continued. “Duterte is responsible for his government’s alleged extralegal killing of thousands of drug users and dealers, and who has bragged, ‘At the age of 16, I already killed someone. Just over a look.’ Duterte’s spokesman later claimed that it had been meant as a joke.”
Libertarian National Committee executive director Wes Benedict opined that “the danger that Trump and Sessions pose to peaceful adults who choose to self-medicate or recreate with drugs is no joke.”
“It’s certainly not libertarian, and it’s offensive to the vast majority of Americans,” he said.
On foreign policy, the party criticized Trump for not following promised “baby steps in a libertarian direction” on cutting back defense of South Korea, Japan, and NATO countries, and also ripped his “insult-trading competition with Kim Jong-un” and nominations of Mike Pompeo and then Gina Haspel to lead the CIA. They criticized Bolton’s stances on regime change and foreign intervention.
“Libertarians are the party of peaceful trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none,” Benedict said. “Trump’s reckless military aggressiveness and trade wars are quite the opposite.”
The party also chided Trump as less-than-Libertarian for increasing spending and deficits while hiking tariffs “that will impoverish the American people by raising prices, destroying our export markets, and spurring foreign retaliation.”
“Unfortunately, trade wars lead to hot wars,” Benedict said. “The tariffs and boycotts between World War I and World War II demonstrate that beyond a doubt. We also should have expected that Trump would easily be capable of running trillion-dollar deficits. After all, he does have vast personal experience with bankruptcy.”