Donald Trump encountered a divided audience during his speech at the Libertarian Party's national convention on Saturday, where he sought support from its members.

As the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mr. Trump urged the delegates to unite with him to defeat Democrat Joe Biden. "We must work together," he stated. "Combine with us. You have to combine with us." His plea, however, was met with vigorous boos from the Libertarian party members gathered in Washington to select their White House nominee.

Libertarians, who advocate for small government and individual freedom, often lean right on issues such as federal spending and gun rights. Yet, Mr. Trump's invitation to the convention was contentious, with many members criticizing his COVID-19 policies and the national debt accrued during his tenure.

Despite the frosty reception, Trump persisted with his half-hour speech, expressing his desire to extend "a hand of friendship" and promising to include a Libertarian in his cabinet if elected. This was met with skepticism and heckling from the audience.

Trump attempted to portray parts of his past record as libertarian, citing tax cuts and the defunding of federal equality programs as examples. He also tried to inject humor into his speech, quipping that his four criminal indictments had turned him into a Libertarian. "If I wasn't a Libertarian before, I sure as hell am a Libertarian now," he joked.

However, many in the crowd remained unconvinced. Delegates chanted "End the Fed," a common Libertarian slogan opposing the Federal Reserve, and one person holding a "No wannabe dictators" sign was removed by security.

Accustomed to speaking before large crowds of enthusiastic supporters, Trump appeared visibly frustrated and resorted to mocking the audience. "Only do that if you want to win," he said of supporting him for president. "If you want to lose, don't do that. Keep getting your 3% every four years." Historically, Libertarians have garnered around 3% of the popular vote in U.S. presidential elections.

With the race between Trump and President Joe Biden so close, allies of both candidates have expressed concern about third-party threats, including independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who also spoke at the Libertarian convention on Friday.

Voices from the Convention

Arielle Shack, a Libertarian voter from New Jersey, attended the convention to oppose allowing Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Trump to speak. "We don't want people that are not Libertarians here. If they don't have our principles, we're not going to vote for them," Shack told the BBC's news partner CBS.

Michael Reeves, a delegate from Daphne, Alabama, expressed disappointment in Trump's first term. "I thought he had an opportunity to really make some changes in DC, and he didn't," Reeves said. "The best we can say is that he didn't start any new wars, and that's a pretty low bar." He added that both Democrats and Republicans are steering the country towards a "more collectivist and authoritarian state."