Over the weekend, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier that independent candidate Evan McMullin was a “puppet” of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and referred to him as a guy “nobody heard of.”
He also said McMullin was hurting the Republican Party’s quest for the White House in 2016.
“The guy takes votes away from me,” Trump said, referring to McMullin’s strong polling in Utah, especially among his fellow Mormons.
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McMullin, a former CIA operative and House GOP policy director, was drafted to run for president by a group of “Never Trump” conservatives, including Kristol.
In an interview on Fox News’ Happening Now Monday, the independent candidate responded to Trump’s comments.
“First of all he’s losing Utah, the reddest state of all, because he is a weak leader — because he is not a real conservative, because he’s hardly a real Republican,” he told host Jenna Lee.
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“You can only blame yourself if you’re in Donald Trump’s position with hundreds of millions of dollars and a party at his disposal and still losing Utah. The polls say that we’re either tied, the most recent ones, we’re either tied or leading,” McMullin said.
He continued, “I mean, this is on him — he could win Utah if he were a real conservative. The problem is that he has a lifelong record of being pro-late-term abortion, against the Second Amendment, wants to expand the size of government, doesn’t know the first thing about our Constitution, doesn’t want to respect it, he’s run a bigoted, sexist campaign — that’s why he’s losing here. It’s not because of me.”
McMullin added that it doesn’t matter whether he is a household name because he is running a campaign based conservative principles, not fame.
“I’m a nobody, they say, I’m proud to be a nobody,” he said. “This isn’t about me, this is about the principles that this country was founded upon, that’s what I’m fighting for, that’s what Mindy Finn, my running mate, is fighting for, and that’s what our supporters are fighting for. And for him to refer to them as nobodies, they say nobody knows who Evan McMullin is — well there’s somebody and they’re the people of Utah and there are people across the country who are supporting us. … I think Donald Trump needs to own that and make some changes in his own campaign and with himself personally if he hopes to compete.”
McMullin also weighed in on the FBI’s announcement that it was reopening the investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
“Well, my bigger reaction is just that this is nothing new so what are we going to find out … that Hillary Clinton is extremely corrupt? We know that, so I just don’t see this as anything new, just as I didn’t think it was anything new when we had that Donald Trump tape leak about him talking about sexually assaulting women,” he said.
“Look, I mean, we know that this is the kind of person that Donald Trump is. We know that this is the kind of person that Hillary Clinton is. We have a crisis of leadership in this country. We need to snap out of it and not consider ourselves beholden to either one of these two parties.”
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McMullin said a big part of the reason he is running is because the unpopularity of the Trump and Clinton candidacies shows that the public needs more choices.
“If they were offering good leaders, good honest leaders who would respect our Constitution – then fine. Unfortunately, they are not. … Unfortunately, these two parties, I think, have drifted away from serving the American people well, and we’re building a new conservative movement that I think this country needs.”
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