Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson spoke to The Daily Caller Friday about how he plans to tackle the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, how Trump’s appeal is similar to his when he ran for office, and why he thinks the Republican Party left him.
“[The Republican Party] is dictated by the far right and the media goes along with that and the attention goes along with that….I think that the media in many ways, this is back in 2012, they promoted Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, and Herman Cain as representatives of Republican thought, when I don’t really believe it…I think the majority of Republicans are classic liberals, that they’re fiscally conservative and socially liberal, but that isn’t what the world would be led to believe,” said Johnson of his 2012 run for the GOP nomination.
Johnson was the nominee for the Libertarian Party that same year after ditching his efforts to win the Republican nomination. He finished in a very-distant third place with about one percent of the vote.
Johnson believes part of the reason that Sen.[crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore] is having trouble this primary is that he is in fact not a libertarian, telling The Daily Caller, “The problem with Rand Paul is, is that he’s not a social liberal, he’s a social conservative. So where’s the draw to Rand Paul?”
“I get the lure of Trump, it’s really the same pitch that I made to New Mexico. ‘Hey, I’m my own guy, never been involved in politics before, I’m paying for my own campaign, I’m not for sale,'” said Johnson. The former governor started a handyman business to help pay for college and overtime grew Big J Enterprises into a contracting company with over 1,000 employees.
Johnson though stands apart from Trump when it comes to immigration policies, saying, “I got elected but I never said remotely as crazy as first thing I’m going to do is deport 11 million illegal immigrants.”
“We shouldn’t be building a fence across the border, we should make it as easy as possible for someone that wants to come into this country and work to be able to get a work visa,” said Johnson, adding that he shares this view with another former governor. “I think it’s interesting that [Rick Perry and I] were the only two border governors that thought building a fence was a little on the nutty side.”
While the former governor is wary of military involvement abroad, he does recognize the threat of ISIS and radical Islamic threats, telling TheDC, “There is a very real Islamic terrorist threat…what we haven’t done in this country and what nobody has said on stage…[distinguish] the difference between freedom of religion… which we absolutely completely totally support and Sharia, Sharia law, which is politics. Should the country be ‘Islamophobic’, absolutely not, should they be ‘Shariaphobic,’ absolutely!” He added, “Sharia law is what teaches everything abhorrent about Islamic terrorism.”
Johnson believes we should follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and cut off funding for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama administration has previously given over a billion dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Johnson is opposed generally to government surveillance, but believes that it might be necessary with radical mosques, “Should it be a 110 million Verizon users of metadata? No. But in this case, yes, this is the war that we need to take on.”
Looking towards this upcoming fall and the prospects of facing Donald Trump or Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, Johnson told us he thinks people will say, “Wow are these really our choices?”
He added, “the hope is that no, there actually is another choice…but I thought that was going to be the case in 2012 and it certainly did not transpire that way.”