Election 2020

McMullin: 'Empowerment' of White Supremacists 'Enormously Destructive' to GOP

Members of the Ku Klux Klan participate in a "white pride" rally in Rome, Ga., on April 23, 2016. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin said Republicans need to realize and stand up against the “enormously destructive” white supremacist “empowerment” sparked by Donald Trump’s run.

The former CIA officer and former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference told CNN this morning that he hasn’t been a Republican for “many years” as he’s “an American first, then I’m a conservative, then I think about party.”

“The Republican Party has left conservatism, left conservative principles, the very principles upon which our great nation was founded, the principles that made it the most powerful and prosperous on earth. I’m talking specifically about the truth that all of us are created equal and that we all have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the Republican Party isn’t going to be committed to the fact that we are all equal and that we should have liberty, then it will not be a place for conservatives like me and Mindy Finn and the millions of people who are supporting us,” McMullin said, referring to his running mate, a former congressional staffer and political consultant.

He stressed that Never Trump also means Never Hillary, and argued that after Trump the GOP is “not going to be able to make the reforms it needs to to survive as a political entity that can offer leadership to this country.”

“Now, I’ve left the door open a little bit for that, but we saw this after 2012 in less challenging circumstances. With those who are supporting Donald Trump empowered now, they’re not going to let the Republican Party likely make the changes it needs to make. If that’s the case, then this new conservative movement will be even more necessary.”

McMullin argued “Republican leaders are the ones who bear responsibility ultimately” for “severe damage” to the party.

“For years, the Republican leaders should have stood up to bigotry and misogyny among some parts of the party. Not all of the party. There are plenty of Republicans who are not misogynists, who are not bigots, but there is a part of the Republican base that is that. And that’s the uncomfortable truth. It’s not easy for us to say. Those of us who have been affiliated with the party before, but we’ve been inside it, we’ve seen it, and you see it playing out with Donald Trump here,” he said.

He warned of “a bigger thing happening here, which is, the empowerment of a white supremacist, white national movement in the country that is enormously destructive to the Republican Party.”

“Donald Trump has certainly empowered the white nationalist, white supremacist movement, and absolutely. He’s brought them into the Republican base. I think some of that existed even before him,” McMullin said. “Not as organized and not as overtly, but he identified it and was able to capitalize on it, and is capitalizing on it now. And that’s why I’m calling on Republican leaders to at least now — we’re only three weeks away from the election.”

“You’ve seen the truth about Donald Trump, if you couldn’t see it before. Now is the time to stand up and repudiate this and repudiate his misogyny and his bigotry, and if you can’t do that now, if you won’t do that now before November 8, if you won’t stand up for Americans, then what business really do you have leading this country? And I think that’s the question they have to answer.”