Evan McMullin, White House hopeful, lays into Trump in Park City stop
November 1, 2016
Evan McMullin, the independent presidential candidate heavily competing for Utah's electoral votes, campaigned in Park City on Monday, greeting numerous supporters on Main Street and offering sharp criticism of Donald Trump as he spoke to reporters.
McMullin arrived in the city as a large crowd gathered on Main Street for the Halloween festivities. McMullin walked much of the length of the street, stopping repeatedly to talk to people who plan to vote for him or others who were interested in his campaign. He did not wear identifying clothes or pins, but it seemed that many of the people who approached McMullin recognized him as a candidate.
He posed for photos with some in the crowd, spoke briefly to police officers assigned to the event and chatted with a few people who wore T-shirts supporting his candidacy. The backers seemed pleased to see him while others who preferred Trump or Hillary Clinton appeared cordial as they spoke to him.
McMullin said in an interview he will win Utah on Election Day and predicted he will take Summit County as well.
"I do believe we are going to prevail here. We've got a lot of work to do. We're not taking anything for granted. That's why I'm going to be here until Election Day," he said about his plans to stump in Utah through Tuesday.
McMullin appeared in Park City as interests in opposition to his candidacy leveled fierce criticism against him and his family background on recorded telephone messages in the state. He said he is straight while his mother is married to a woman. He loves his mother and said he grew up in a traditional Mormon family. McMullin in an online posting indicated Trump's "white supremacists" are attacking him.
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"It says a lot about the Trump campaign. It says a lot about where the Republican Party is these days. I've been a Republican voter my entire life, and now that we have Donald Trump as the nominee, we see this kind of hate and bigotry," McMullin said.
McMullin anticipated voters in Utah will have a negative reaction to the telephone messages and said the Republican nominee is worried about Utah, a reliably GOP state that Trump is seen as needing to win if he is victorious on Election Day.
"The Trump campaign is coming out and attacking us a little bit more. They feel themselves slipping in Utah, and we're gaining momentum, so we're excited. They're a little bit nervous, I think, but that's fine. We'll compete for the rest of the time, and I think we'll have a good outcome," McMullin said.
He said Trump is critical of women and minorities, and he raises questions about religion. McMullin contrasted his campaign to Trump's politicking, saying he wants to move the U.S. forward with a message of equality and liberty and respect to the Constitution, limited government."
"A traditional conservative message that I think will unite this country, and that's where we're focused," he said.
McMullin's appearance was a rare stop by a presidential candidate in Park City so close to Election Day. White House hopefuls and other top-tier politicians have visited Park City over the past few election cycles, but the stops have typically been closed-door fundraising events. McMullin's appearance on Main Street was the most public campaign event by a presidential candidate since Barack Obama held an open rally in the Snyderville Basin in the summer of 2007, during the early stages of the 2008 contest.
The Main Street event, known as Howl-O-Ween, drew a large crowd of Parkites and their dogs. McMullin seemed intrigued by the eclectic collection of costumes donned by people and pets, slowly taking in the scene. Some of the costumes had a political theme. McMullin, flashing a thumbs-up sign to cameras, posed with two people dressed as Clinton and Trump.
McMullin in the interview said his strategy to win Summit County is partially based on an environmental platform that includes more investment in cleaner-burning energies.
"I think, for up here, it's a message about the environment. I'm somebody who thinks we have a responsibility for stewardship over our Earth, and we are contributing to global warming or to climate change," he said.
McMullin said federally held public lands should be transferred to the control of the states, the corporate tax rate should be lowered, education must be reformed and federal red tape should be reduced.
"We've got all kinds of government regulation that gets in the way of people pursuing their dreams. That's part of it," he said. "We have a tendency, when we think about the economy, to help large corporations and not entrepreneurs. I think that's got to change."