Gary Johnson

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 www.garyjohnson2016.com   

Gary Johnson is the former two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico from 1994-2003. In 2012, Gary Johnson earned the nomination of the Libertarian Party for President of the United States, and placed third in the General Election (behind Barack Obama and Mitt Romney). While Governor, Johnson earned the nickname "Governor Veto" for his frequent use of his veto privileges to stop legislation, which he used 750 times. Previous to his public service, Johnson was a successful business owner. He is also the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy organization supporting individual liberty, free markets and limited government. Johnson announced his 2016 candidacy for the Libertarian Party in January 2016.  

Vice Presidential Running Mate

William "Bill" Weld

Bill Weld is an attorney, businessman and Libertarian politician who served as the 68th Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Weld served as a U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, and then as the head of the Department of Justice Criminal Division from 1986 to 1988. He was elected as the Republican Governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and served from 1991 until 1997, at which point he ran for U.S. Senate and lost to John Kerry, who was the incumbent Democrat. In 1997, Weld was nominated U.S. Ambassador to Mexico by President Bill Clinton, and resigned as Governor to press Congress to confirm his nomination - which was ultimately not even considered in the Senate. Weld withdrew his nomination 

On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Gary Johnson has said on the campaign trail.

 

Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy

   

U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 

 

U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties


 

 

Syria 

Surveillance


 

Israel/Palestine 

Community Policing

 

 

Lebanon

Bigoted Speech

 

Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

 

Statements 

The U.S. Role in the Middle East

"And then from a military intervention standpoint, look, we're not isolationists in any way whatsoever, but we're noninterventionists. We don't want to get involved in other countries' affairs. We think that the interventions that have gone on have resulted in a less safe world, not a more safe world." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

BILL WELD: "As to the military, the baseline position of the Libertarian Party is an invincible defense. An invincible defense includes projection of military supremacy both air and naval around the world, because people around the world really do pay attention. It does not encompass interventionism, boots on the ground, American blood on foreign soil."  (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

“I think one of the big problems about running for political office when it comes to the military is that candidates draw lines in the sand and I think that’s a big mistake. If I draw a line in the sand and it gets crossed, count on the action that I promised.” (June 7, 2016 – Interview with Daily Caller)

“When we’re attacked, we’re going to attack back. I reject the notion that Libertarians are isolationists. There should be diplomacy to the hilt, but in regard to our military interventions, boots on the ground, dropping bombs, flying drones that are killing thousands of innocent people, I think that it’s had the unintended consequence of making the world less safe.” (June 5, 2016 – Interview on Meet the Press)

“How about having a skeptic at the table in regard to these military interventions. Yes, if we are going to make a difference, then count on me to step up, but I’m skeptical of our military interventions.” (June 5, 2016 – Interview on Meet the Press)

"If attacked, the United States is going to attack back. But let's stop with empire building." (May 9, 2016 – AFP)

"I opposed the Iraq War. I supported going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after 9/11, but opposed — and continue to oppose — our failed attempt at Afghan nation building. And I opposed our involvement in overthrowing the government in Libya." (November 19, 2015 - Our America Initiative)

"Obama says he's worried about innocent young people in the Middle East. Perhaps he should start by not killing them with drones." (October 22, 2012 - Twitter)

U.S. Response to ISIL

"If we are attacked, we're going to attack back. And you can certainly argue that we have been attacked by ISIS, but let's involve Congress also in this process, something that Congress has abdicated to the president and to the military and that we do find ourselves in these conflicts without an open debate and discussion on how we should move forward. We're obligated to defend borders in other countries that have not - not been negotiated through Congress, either...Well, because of our intervention, ISIS has grown as a result. I mean, you had Assad against ISIS, and now you take out - you know, we decided to go against Assad, and that's ISIS. So, you know, that's now our new ally?" (June 22, 2016 - CNN Townhall)

BILL WELD "I think we should do the same with a thousand-person FBI taskforce treating ISIS as a gigantic organized crime family, which is exactly what it is. And you have them add the probable cause bit by bit, just like the Justice Department does. Jim Comey, the head of the FBI, was practically a national hero when he was deputy attorney general, together with my deputy in the Justice Department, Bob Mueller, who was head of the FBI for 12 years.These people know how to do this, task forces like the department had against Enron, financial crimes. So they could get results there treating ISIS as an organized crime family and taking them out." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Townhall)

“You can argue we’re at war with ISIS, I’ll concede that. Do I have issue with wiping out ISIS? If it involves boots on the ground, if it involves dropping bombs, if it involves flying drones, I think that all those methods have the unintended consequence of making things worse not better.” (June 7, 2016 – Interview with Daily Caller)

When asked how would he combat ISIS: “Well, first of all, involve Congress. We've got treaties with 69 countries in the world, to defend their borders, that were not congressionally authorized treaties. They were executive treaties along with the military. Our decisions with regard to the military are executive and they're the military. Involve Congress. Let's get an open debate and discussion and declaration of war, if that's the way that we want to treat ISIS.” (June 6, 2016 – Interview with Politico’s Podcast Off Message)

“He also talks about killing the families of Muslim terrorists. Gee, who’s gonna [sic] arbitrate over that one? And then he says he’s all about free market and then in the next sentence he says I’m going to force Apple to build their iPads and iPhones in the United States … where do plus half of Republicans go given the things he is saying?” (February 23, 2016 – New York Observer)

“When it comes to drones, I think it makes a bad situation even worse. We end up killing innocents and fueling hatred as opposed to containing it. It just hasn't worked.” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

"We must face the fact that ISIS is a murderous, violent movement driven by Sharia ideology, not by the religion of Islam. We need not and should not be Islamophobic, but all who are free and wish to be free should be Shariaphobic. In its determination to impose a “law” upon us and to kill, maim and terrorize in the process — as seen most recently in Paris, ISIS must be stopped." (November 19, 2015 - Our America Initiative

Syria

"There should not have been military intervention in Syria. And it has had the unintended consequence of actually growing ISIS. Speaking earlier about - the Pentagon itself says that we could reduce bases in the United States by 20 percent. That's coming from the Pentagon. But you don't have Congress that goes along with that, because of course that's bases in home states, and that's what Congress does, is protect their own interests." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

BILL WELD: "And I was a little surprised this week to see 51 State Department diplomats say we want to bomb to force regime change in Syria. You know, regime change. I say to myself, that sounds familiar. It takes a lot of boots on the ground to effectuate regime change, if you want to make sure it sticks. So, you know, what you would have is a pair of skeptics when people come and say we should intervene here on the ground because these people are being mean to each other and we can't stand that. That's not going to sell as a matter of first impressions." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

When asked what his policy towards Syrian refugees would be: “We need to take our share, and I'm not sure what that share should be. I'd like to come up with a formula based on our coalition partners. I wouldn't say zero, but I don't know if 65,000 puts us in the category of "our fair share."” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

"Putting tens of thousands of American troops on the ground in Iraq or, especially, Syria, won’t work. We have learned that the hard way. Those realities, however, do not mean that we do nothing." (November 19, 2015 - Our America Initiative)

Israel/Palestine

 No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy. 

Lebanon

 No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Iran Nuclear Deal 

"Iran is categorically proven to finance terrorism. It's the number one financier of terror around the world. No, we should not have signed the Iran deal. We should not have unfrozen those assets.” (May 28, 2016 – Libertarian Presidential Debate)

Voting Rights

  No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

"These government [terror watch] lists are subject to error. I think you can argue the 4 percent error rate, that active members of Congress are on that list. You may be on that list, and you’re seeking to get a weapon to defend yourself against your abusive husband. Now, I’m not saying you’re going to shoot your abusive husband, but your abusive husband knows now that you have a weapon, and that becomes a deterrent. I mean, but that’s your constitutional right to own that weapon. And no-fly lists. Really, do we care about no-fly lists? I mean, should it really matter when it comes to identity of anybody flying?... . I mean, security should exist at the airports, that identity really is not an issue. Now, I’m not saying do away with the no-fly list. But I’m just, you know – why are there no-fly lists in the beginning?... I’m just pointing out that they are subject to error, and ideally you’d have a system that identity would be a non-factor, that everybody gets dealt with equally and that it’s safe to fly.” (July 7, 2016 - Interview with the Washington Post Editorial Board)

On proposals to ban individuals on "terror watch lists" from purchasing guns: "I think that these lists are subject to error. And if you're one of those error members, and I am talking now about the terrorist list or the no-fly list, that has active members of Congress on both lists...Believe me, these are really sensitive issues. And I'll just point out that I kind of sort of want to pivot here. I mean, the death penalty is subject to 3 percent to 4 percent error on the death penalty. So if you're in that category, and you're put to death, that's my opposition to the death penalty, is that all of these government lists are subject to error. And if you happen to be one of those.. you may have your life adversely affected." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

Regarding his position on guns "I don't think our position would be making it easier [to purchase guns]. We're not looking to roll back anything. But with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, with regard to keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists - Bill [Weld] talked about establishing a thousand-person taskforce to potentially address that, a hot line. Look, we should be open to these discussions. I would love to understand what transpired between the [Orlando] shooter and the FBI, for example, getting in the middle of that. That's why I want to get elected president. I just - I do really well in that situation. I'm not saying I would be value-added, but, look, the FBI came in contact with this guy three times. What transpired? Why wasn't this guy deprived of his guns?" (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

“In this country, we have a growing police state — if people can own assault rifles or automatic rifles, I think leads to a more civil government. You can look at the most egregious examples of the war on drugs where federal agents have gone in and killed individuals without their being any justification whatsoever. And if these individuals that were killed were to have known to possess automatic weapons or assault weapons, maybe they would have been more careful and more diligent when it comes to due process.” (June 12, 2016 – Statement to the Washington Post)

“We need to educate ourselves on the root causes of this, which is Islamic terrorism and the ideology of sharia law. In this country, we've become so politically correct that in the name of freedom of religion we have allowed sharia law and its adherents to advance. We need to differentiate between freedom of religion and the politics of sharia law. Freedom of religion, absolutely. But if you're talking about allowing sharia law that runs contrary to the US Constitution, that is ideologically the war that we need to take on.” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

"There's been a movement in state legislatures to pass "American laws for American courts." I didn't get that, but now I do. In Great Britain, they tried to allow sharia law side by side with British law and found it to be unworkable. They said, "If from a religious freedom standpoint, you want to govern your life by sharia law then so be it." We can't allow that. Sharia law doesn't treat women equally. Iran, a country governed by sharia law, executes thirty homosexuals a month. It cannot be allowed to coexist in America. Just like we were right to put (Kentucky clerk) Kim Davis in jail for not adhering to the law, we can't allow sharia practice to exist in the name of religious freedom. It's not constitutional.” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

“Libertarians are going to stand for liberties, you bet! The only way a libertarian will act military is by being attacked, and we've been attacked. I oppose boots on the ground, but you can't rule out military intervention categorically.” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

“It is time that we have an open, honest dialogue about the politics of Sharia law. It is time that we face the reality that, while Islam is a faith that must be granted the same freedoms of religion as all others, Sharia is a political ideology that cannot coexist with the constitutional and basic human rights on which the United States is founded." (November 19, 2015 - Our America Initiative)

Surveillance

On whether the NSA’s domestic spying program should be limited, Johnson said, “Well, limited, yes, so I’m not saying do away with the NSA, but turn the satellites away from U.S. citizens. And there is due process, which I do not think is exemplified by the FISA court saying that, yes, NSA, you can gather metadata on 110 million Verizon users. (July 7, 2016 - Interview with the Washington Post Editorial Board)

 “He also talks about killing the families of Muslim terrorists. Gee, who’s gonna [sic] arbitrate over that one? And then he says he’s all about free market and then in the next sentence he says I’m going to force Apple to build their iPads and iPhones in the United States … where do plus half of Republicans go given the things he is saying?” (February 23, 2016 – New York Observer)

"Whether it’s a Republican who wants the government to tell you who to love, or a Democrat who wants the government to look through your cell phone, the threat to our civil liberties needs to be stopped by a renewed appreciation for what it means to be free. Our founding fathers established the 4th Amendment, for example, to prevent the government from snooping into our private lives without a warrant. Yet today, we have a national government that spies on private communications, monitors your financial transactions, photographs your license plates, and even will track everything you do at a public library — all without warrants or due process of law. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld want to get the government out of your life. Out of your cell phone. Out of your bedroom. And back into the business of protecting your freedoms, not restricting them." (official platform statement - www.johnsonweld.com)

 

Community Policing

“A person of color has a much greater likelihood of going to jail for drugs than a white person. As governor of New Mexico, I supported the legalization of marijuana and was threatened with impeachment. Libertarians aren't coming up to speed on this, they've been at the tip of this from the beginning. I've maintained that the root of police abuse is the war on drugs. Drugs are a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. I watched a recruitment video for police in southern New Mexico that depicted young men in body armor with assault rifles and tanks knocking down doors. I just couldn't believe it.” (November 19, 2015 – Reason)

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

"If I could, again, this may not be Republican dogma, but what I did very early on in my administration was to establish an African Caribbean American commission, meet with them once a month myself, not a cabinet secretary. All your concerns, anything we can do specifically, same for Asian-Americans, same for Hispanic-Americans, met regularly with Muslim and Arab community. My wife read from the Koran in Arabic to them. So, you know, I received the Golden Door Award for, you know, friendliness to various diasporas who were resident in our state. So that comes very naturally to me. I'm a pluralist. I think the essence of democracy is that the individual shall not be thrust in a corner. If there are members of groups who by virtue of their membership in that group are being thrust in a corner, that's when my blood temperature really starts to rise." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

"The issues that I have with Trump, starting with immigration, starting with free trade, going on and on and on, killing the families of Muslim terrorists, really, it's what's coming out of his mouth that I really have issues with, and those are the issues that are facing this country." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

BILL WELD: "I think that the Republican presumptive nominee has succeeded in tapping into the very worst political traditions of the United States and other countries. The amount of fear engendered of Europe - in Europe with the knock at the door that Governor Johnson mentions, Anne Frank hiding in the attic, hoping no noise will alert the Nazis below, they're directly analogous...It's the roundup - it's the roundup that he has proposed, the rounding up and deportation of 11 million people. I mean, that's a lot of people. And that's going to engender a lot of fear, pit citizens and noncitizens against the government, breed disrespect for authority. I just think it's not a realistic prescription whatsoever." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

"In this immediate aftermath of what is clearly a tragic and despicable attack, our thoughts must be with the victims. Regardless of what the motivation is ultimately found to be, this violence against innocent people simply going about their lives is both cowardly and infuriating. We must allow the authorities to do their jobs, understand how this attack came about, and then respond accordingly. It is not a time to either politicize or jump to conclusions.” (June 12, 2016 – Statement to the Washington Post)

In response to why Donald Trump has found success as the Republican nominee. “Well, what I have identified is that 30 percent of Republican voters believe the scourge of the earth is Mexican immigration. So he has tapped into this anger, which - you know, it's human nature. We all want to somehow justify why things aren't going right. And I think that Mexican immigration - legal, illegal - has taken that on. There's a real misunderstanding about illegal immigration. I mean, President Obama has broken up 3 million families by deporting and breaking up families here in the United States. So it isn't just Democrats and Republicans. But as a border state governor, I have to tell you this is a bad thing.” (May 29, 2016 – NPR)

“It is time that we have an open, honest dialogue about the politics of Sharia law. It is time that we face the reality that, while Islam is a faith that must be granted the same freedoms of religion as all others, Sharia is a political ideology that cannot coexist with the constitutional and basic human rights on which the United States is founded." (November 19, 2015 - Our America Initiative)

Immigration Reform

"I find both of his statements just incendiary, and I am speaking as a border state governor. The deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants is really based in misinformation. Building a fence across the border borders on insanity.We should make it as easy as possible for somebody that wants to come into this country and work to be able to get a work visa. I'm not talking about a green card; I'm not talking about a citizenship, but a work visa that should entail a background check and a Social Security card so that applicable taxes get paid. They are not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want. They're hard-working individuals. The reason for the 11 million illegal immigrants is because there are jobs that exist in this country and they can't get across the border legally, so they cross illegally...And let me for a second, how's the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants going to work in my home state, New Mexico, where the population is 48 percent Hispanic? Is this going to be a knock - well, it's going to amount to a knock on the door by the federal government. They come to my door, oh, gee, you're the former governor, I guess we won't search your house. But the next door, they go to is statistically going to be Hispanic, and there are going to have to be papers produced. And I'm just telling you, this is incendiary." (June 22, 2016 - CNN Town Hall)

On Donald Trump and his immigration policies: “Look, I come from New Mexico. Fifty percent of New Mexico population is Hispanic. We're one of four states in the country that is minority-majority, Native American, Hispanic. The things that he [Donald Trump] is saying relative to the borders are absolutely incendiary and they are wrong. They are just flat wrong. And in the 2012 cycle, it was my voice out there saying, look, building a fence across the border is--really, it's not a good idea. There's no common sense associated with building a fence across the border, and the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants? This, really, at the basis of that belief is just a misunderstanding of what that really represents. That represents a lot of hard-working people that can't get across the border to legally work, so they cross illegally, something that you would probably do if the situation was reversed, to look after your family.” (June 6, 2016 – Interview with Politico’s Podcast Off Message)

“They [immigrants] are not taking jobs that U.S. citizens want, and it's not an issue of lower pay, unless it's an issue of language. And they're the first ones that recognize that so they--not unlike immigration throughout the history of this country. We are a nation of immigrants, and if the truth be known, don't we need a whole lot of immigrants to be buying homes, and to drive our economy, and to take jobs that U.S. citizens don't want?” (June 6, 2016 – Interview with Politico’s Podcast Off Message)

“The people who are coming across the border are people who just want jobs. So how about making a system whereby it would be easy to get a work visa… so that the people crossing the border illegally, that the border patrol would actually be able to identify those people, as opposed to mothers with children that are actually wading across the Rio Grande because of jobs that exist and they can’t get across the border to take advantage of them.” (May 31, 2016 – CNN)

In response to why Donald Trump has found success as the Republican nominee. “Well, what I have identified is that 30 percent of Republican voters believe the scourge of the earth is Mexican immigration. So he has tapped into this anger, which - you know, it's human nature. We all want to somehow justify why things aren't going right. And I think that Mexican immigration - legal, illegal - has taken that on. There's a real misunderstanding about illegal immigration. I mean, President Obama has broken up 3 million families by deporting and breaking up families here in the United States. So it isn't just Democrats and Republicans. But as a border state governor, I have to tell you this is a bad thing.” (May 29, 2016 – NPR)

"I really think that Donald Trump has the opportunity here to really take Republicans down and the Republican Party will no longer be if he’s the nominee. Starting out with deporting 11 million illegal immigrants, following that up by building a wall. As a border state governor, I’ll tell you that’s crazy.” (May 5, 2016 – The Nation)