Evan McMullin has blamed Donald Trump’s “racist supporters” for a white nationalist group’s pro-Trump robocall smears in Utah.
The independent candidate and former CIA agent called the robocall a “desperate attack” by Trump, whom he says is losing ground in Utah. The Los Angeles Times says the robocall accuses McMullin of having two lesbian mothers and being a “closet homosexual.”
The Los Angeles Times says the robocall came from a “white nationalist leader who has funded several ads supporting Donald Trump.” The funder, William Johnson, is the leader of the white nationalist group, The American Freedom Party, says the Times.
The Daily Beast says Johnson was previously listed as a Republican National Convention delegate. The robocall, which went to 193,000 households, begins, “I am a farmer and a white nationalist. I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump,” The Daily Beast says.
The Daily Beast said that Johnson could offer no proof that McMullin is gay and added that Johnson has donated to the Trump campaign, although Trump said in a previous town hall that he did not know who Johnson was.
According to National Review, the polls first showed a Utah-born McMullin surge in Utah in October, “with McMullin either in the lead or just behind Trump” in a state that has gone Republican every election since 1964. Trump accused McMullin of being a “puppet” of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and said no one had heard of McMullin. McMullin responded: “@realDonaldTrump, Yes you’ve never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad.”
McMullin, on his website, calls himself a constitutional conservative who believes Obamacare has failed, is pro life, and who wants to reduce expansion of federal power.
He has been very vocal about his belief that Trump is not a real conservative and has run a racist campaign.
McMullin also tweeted on October 31 of the robocall: “This attack is consistent with @realDonaldTrump’s bigoted, deceitful campaign and vision for America. Utahns won’t be fooled.” And he tweeted directly at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, writing, “@Reince @GOP, this is your nominee and your supporter. They’re defining you with white nationalism. Will you continue to embrace them?”
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, McMullin “is a 40-year-old single Mormon, whose parents divorced; his mother married a woman afterward.” His father was a computer programmer,and McMullin was raised in Provo, Utah, says the newspaper. These roots have helped him surge in some Utah polls as Utah’s voters have not warmed up to Trump, and Democrats are smaller in number in the conservative state.
Working in the CIA made it difficult to date, McMullin explained to the Salt Lake Tribune of his single status, saying that he was “hopeful and optimistic that that will happen soon. … My greatest aspiration is to be a husband and father.”
He also spoke about his views on gay marriage to the newspaper, saying, “As far as my mother’s marriage is concerned, I believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage. It is an important part of my faith. My mother has a different view. That is OK. I love her very much, and she is one of my best friends. She is a wonderful mother. I wish everyone could have a mother like my mom.” The Daily Beast said McMullin has said that he “respects the Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage” although he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.
McMullin, a former CIA agent, is running as an Independent. He is one of three major third-party candidates in the race. The others are Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. However, only McMullin is possibly poised to win a state. Since it’s Utah – a reliably red state – and since the election is so close, that actually could be decisive in the end.
In the string of tweets, McMullin also directed a challenge toward Utah’s Republican leadership, writing, “Will Utah GOP leaders continue to stand with @realDonaldTrump and white nationalists’ as they attack my faith and spread baseless lies?”
He added, “I’ve stood for liberty and equality in this race; it’s natural for @realDonaldTrump’s white supremacists to attack me. A fight worth having.”
On Twitter, McMullin defines himself as “Independent presidential candidate. Former CIA operative, businessman, House GOP Chief Policy Director. It’s time for a new generation of American leadership.”
The Los Angeles Times argued that there is one outside way that McMullin could become president, not just a potential spoiler for Trump: “If no candidate manages to win 270 electoral votes, the electors — i.e. the actual people who cast electoral votes on Dec. 19 — hand the whole thing over to the House of Representatives to decide, as they did in the election of 1824.” Maybe, the writer theorized, the House would pick McMullin because only the top three finishers can be considered, and McMullin may end up the only third-party candidate with electors.
See different pathways for Trump and Clinton here for electoral college victory here. The breakdowns show how formidable the math is for Trump even with the tightening in the polls. They also show how incredibly important it is to Trump to not lose Utah: