NEWS BRIEF Anti-Trump Republicans are taking one more shot at the presidency. This time, Evan McMullin is their man.
McMullin, the former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, will launch an independent presidential bid, according to his campaign website. Several media outlets reported his bid early on Monday morning. “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up,” McMullin said in a statement to ABC. “It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”
Better for America, the group that is allegedly facilitating McMullin's run,“will likely have to sue to get on the ballot” in some states.
On Monday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on Twitter that McMullin has “the backing of key $$ contributors in the Republican Party,” citing sources. Nate Hodson, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, released a statement, saying, “the House Republican Conference has zero knowledge of his intentions.” An aide added that McMullin no longer works for the conference.
McMullin, who has also worked for the CIA and Goldman Sachs, has been a critic of Donald Trump in the past. During the Republican National Convention late last month, he denounced the Republican nominee on Twitter:
Authoritarians like @realDonaldTrump use promises of law & order to justify infringing on civil rights as they consolidate control by force.— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) July 22, 2016
And in a Facebook post this month, he railed against Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from coming to the United States:
As Donald Trump continues attacking Muslims and as a former CIA officer, I’d like all Americans to know the truth: American and other Muslims have played a central role in virtually every counterterrorism win we’ve had since 9/11. They are an indispensable asset in this fight. Attacking them as a group makes America weaker, not stronger.
But, as noted by BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, McMullin is largely unknown: “He doesn’t appear regularly on television, and has just 135 followers on Twitter. His most high-profile recent appearance seems to have been a TEDx talk about genocide he gave at London Business School in April.”
An independent run might be less about winning the White House than providing anti-Trump Republicans another candidate to vote for. Still, McMullin could potentially challenge the Republican nominee in some states, including Utah, where the Mormon, Brigham Young University alum could appeal to the electorate.
Earlier this year, some Republicans suggested The National Review’s David French might run as an independent candidate, but the columnist decided against it. McMullin is expected to file his campaign paperwork on Monday, according to ABC and BuzzFeed.