Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, tried to change the subject to marijuana legalization when a reporter pressed him on his tax policy in an interview published Thursday that grew increasingly heated.
“Well, I’m an idiot,” Johnson said, sarcastically opening the interview with The Guardian’s Paul Lewis. “Really, I’m the dumbest guy you’ve ever met in your life.”
Johnson was referring to the fact that most interviewers have continued to harp on his publicized gaffes in recent weeks, including being unfamiliar with Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and not being able to name a single foreign leader he admired.
After a contentious discussion of Johnson’s poll numbers — he’s hovering around 5.8% in the RealClearPolitics average — Lewis turned the conversation to the Libertarian nominee’s tax policy.
Johnson said that he wanted some “certainty” that taxes wouldn’t go up. He launched into a defence of his record of not raising taxes “a penny” as a two-term governor of New Mexico.
“Look,” Johnson said. “We’re not getting elected king or dictator. If Congress passes tax reduction, tax simplification, I sign on to it. But I also recognise that government picks winners and losers, that crony capitalism is alive and well.”
Johnson’s campaign, however, has said that his administration would abolish the IRS and replace all income and payroll taxes with a single-consumption tax.
When Lewis pointed out that “most of the world’s major economists” think Johnson’s tax plan wouldn’t work, a visibly angry Johnson responded that “he didn’t want to argue,” and tried to steer the conversation towards marijuana legalization.
“I came out for the legalization of marijuana — let me just use that as an example. And I will tell you that I had people in my face for years, and years, and years, telling me about how stupid and how idiotic it was that we should allow marijuana to be legal.”
“What’s that got to do with your tax policy?” Lewis asked.
“It’s leadership,” Johnson said .
Watch the full video from The Guardian:
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