Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico and 2016 Libertarian Party presidential candidate, is not endorsing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) for president.
On Sunday evening, Johnson told Reason that while he admires the Democratic presidential aspirant's foreign policy views, he is ultimately supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, his 2016 running mate. Weld is currently seeking the Republican Party's nomination for president, though he is extremely unlikely to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.
"I like a lot of what she has to say," says Johnson. But "my guy is Bill Weld."
On Sunday, Business Insider reported that Johnson had called a Gabbard staffer and left a voicemail message in which he offered her his support.
"Hey, I was asked a long time ago to endorse Tulsi, and I did, and you know, whatever I can do—I'm not active on social media—but I did endorse her, and you know, whatever quote you wanna attribute to me to say vote for her, you got it," said Johnson, according to Business Insider.
Johnson clarified to Reason that while he appreciates Gabbard's fierce opposition to military interventionism and regime change, he did not intend to formally endorse Gabbard. He would have explained this, he said, if the campaign had returned his call.
"If it had been returned I don't think this article would have been written," he says, referencing the Business Insider report.
It's not really surprising that Johnson would harbor some pro-Gabbard sentiments. By making a non-interventionist foreign policy the centerpiece of her campaign and courting independent-minded voters, Gabbard has attracted some libertarian interest. Former Rep. Ron Paul (R–Texas), a libertarian Republican who sought the presidency in 1988, 2008, and 2012, recently interviewed her on his YouTube channel.
In any case, Johnson is firmly in the Weld camp, despite the confusion.
"If I have misled anyone I profusely apologize," Johnson says.