Gary Johnson and the art of trolling Trump

“Well, no, I don’t think [Trump] represents smaller government!” Johnson told me during a taping of POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast. “I mean, just what he’s talking about when it comes to immigration, in a state that’s 50 percent Hispanic, are doors not going to be knocked on in New Mexico, my door included? But when they get to my door, gee, I’m white, so — well, but maybe we’d better check your basement or your attic to make sure that you’re not harboring any illegal immigrants. … Absolutely, it’s racist. When he calls Mexicans murderers and rapists, that is incendiary.”…

Johnson’s keystone position on immigration — open borders and open arms for Mexican working families — is a nonstarter for the vast majority of Republicans (and most Democrats, for that matter). But his response to Trump is as visceral as it is rooted in policy: He’s known Latino friends on both sides of the New Mexico-Arizona border who have been targeted by Arizona’s restrictive 2010 immigration law.

“They’ve got a sticker on their back of their window of their car, ‘I’m an American,’” he said. “They have resigned themselves to carry their papers. It’s just the way it is, is what they say. That is deeply offensive to me, as an American, that an Iraqi war veteran who is Hispanic, is out for a job, and he doesn’t have his papers, and he’s close to the border, and somehow he’s going to get rounded up.”