Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin fired back against a robocall going out to Utah voters from a white nationalist Trump supporter claiming the former CIA officer is gay.
The white supremacist, William Johnson, had been selected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention but stepped aside after controversy erupted over his RNC role. The Trump campaign said he had been selected as a delegate from California due to a “database error.”
“Hello, My name is William Johnson,” the robocall, which started going out Monday, begins. “I am a farmer and a white nationalist. I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump. Evan McMullin is an open borders, amnesty supporter.”
“Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is OK with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage,” Johnson continues. “Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.”
“Don’t vote for Evan McMullin. Vote for Donald Trump. He will respect all women and be a president we can all be proud of.”
McMullin tweeted Monday that the robocall was “another desperate attack from GOP nominee @realDonaldTrump and his racist supporters as he continues to lose ground in Utah.”
He then tweeted at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus: “This is your nominee and your supporter. They’re defining you with white nationalism. Will you continue to embrace them?”
“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,” McMullin added.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in response to the robocall, “We strongly condemn this rhetoric and these activities of which we have no knowledge.”
But McMullin told CNN today that while “I don’t know if they had any idea or not” the robocall follows the narrative that has seen Trump supporters attack his Mormon faith and his service with the CIA. “We’ve even received some death threats from these white supremacists, even recently, overnight,” he said. “They’ve attacked my family.”
“Donald Trump himself has bragged about sexually assaulting women and attacked people for the color of their skin and their faith. I mean, this is the Republican nominee and none of this should surprise any of us.”
“This is not the type of leader we should have in our country at all,” McMullin added.
He accused Trump of doing everything he can to “foment racial discord” — a common tactic McMullin said he saw during his CIA service among dictators who wanted to divide the people to increase their power.
“I don’t think everyone who supports Trump is a racist, but most bigots and most racists are supporting Donald Trump,” he said.
Trump’s rhetoric, McMullin continued, “invites the support of these kinds of people.” He added that the GOP nominee apparently “enjoys the support” of supporters like Johnson and “harbors some of the same feelings.”
“This isn’t the party we knew,” he said. “This isn’t the party of Lincoln.”
McMullin also refuted the charges in the robocall: “I support securing the border and enforcing our laws, and I am straight.”
In a Salt Lake Tribune profile, McMullin said when he left when the CIA in 2010, “I spent much of my 20s and early 30s working in a way that made it difficult for me to date, and I wanted to get married… my greatest aspiration is to be a husband and father.”
On his mother’s marriage to a woman after his parents’ divorce, he said, “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.”
In the latest Salt Lake Tribune/Dan Jones poll, McMullin is 2 points behind Trump in Utah. In a recent Heat Street/Rasmussen poll, McMullin was 3 points behind the GOP nominee.