Evan McMullin’s campaign is gaining steam, but a big question for many voters is “Where does Evan McMullin stand on the issues?” As McMullin gains ballot access in a growing number of states, the question of who Evan McMullin is and exactly what he stands for remains. We have combed interviews to find Evan McMullin in his own words.
On why he’s running: “One of the biggest threats this country faces is Islamist terrorism. I am the only credible candidate who has any experience whatsoever, firsthand, fighting terrorists,” McMullin said to Bloomberg. “I know exactly what needs to be done to defeat ISIS and other such groups. On day one, I can start that process.”
He further stated on Fox News, “Donald Trump is already losing this election. I entered the race six days ago when he was down ten points at the national level. State polls in critical states over the past couple of days show that he’s even further down in them. Donald Trump has no chance of winning this election. He has alienated too wide a swath of the American population. He continues to put his foot in his mouth. He will not win. He’s weak and I think he’s melting down…. He is ensuring that Hillary Clinton is our next president.”
McMullin told Heat Street, “I am the only conservative in this race. Donald Trump is not a conservative. He has pretended to be at times and not at other times. I have been a conservative my entire life. I believe firmly that I am the only one that can carry that mantle. And I am committed to uniting this country and I believe that under these [conservative] principles… that the country can be united again. It’s been divided for too long and both of these candidates, Clinton and Trump, in their own individual ways, are further dividing us. We need a new generation of leadership.”
McMullin agreed that getting down ticket Republicans elected was very important and called encouraging disaffected conservatives “a positive element of what we’re doing. We’re giving the American people someone to vote for, not just against.”
On Donald Trump: “Donald Trump is no conservative,” he told ABC News. He won the nomination “through misrepresenting himself and exploiting vulnerabilities that the American people have…. I do believe he’s a fraud and a con man. That’s not something I say lightly. That is my professional opinion.”
McMullin told National Review, “I believe Donald Trump is a bona fide authoritarian. I am deeply concerned that if he were president of the United States he would act accordingly.”
On Hillary Clinton: “Hillary Clinton has proven that she doesn’t believe she’s accountable to the American people,” he said to ABC News. The email server issue, a lot of people talk about how classified information was compromised and how lives and sensitive operations were compromised as well… Part of the story that didn’t come out that is even more important is that she believes that she is unaccountable to the American people. She went to great lengths to move her work, her email traffic, off the State Department system. She does not believe that she’s accountable to the American people.”
“So we’re in a time now where Americans, hardworking Americans, don’t feel like they’re being listened to. They don’t feel like their government thinks it’s accountable to them. Are we really going to elect a president who personifies that? I think we shouldn’t.”
On whether Hillary is worse than Trump: “I think they would both be absolutely terrible for the country,” McMullin told ABC News. “I think neither of them understand what makes this country special. Neither of them envision a government that is accountable to the people. Neither of them respect our system of checks and balances.”
“I don’t want either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to become president. Neither of them is acceptable to Americans.”
On trade: On Fox News, McMullin said, “I’m for [the Trans Pacific Partnership]. We need the trade. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers are outside our borders and we need access to them. Right now, as it is, we are limited in so many ways in so many countries…. We have got to get to yes on this….”
“On trade, I’ll just mention that there are people who are genuinely suffering as a result of displaced industries and jobs. Automation is another part of that. It isn’t only trade. We do need to hear their concerns. We do need to help them transition more. I believe that and that’s a message conservatives need to promote more, but we can’t stop trading and broadening our trade opportunities. We have to do that.”
On immigration: “I think we need to secure our border first and foremost,” McMullin told the Fox News panel. “It’s a basic part of being a country. It’s a basic piece of national security. We must do that.”
“As far as a wall is concerned,” he continued, “the experts actually say that in some places a wall is necessary, in some places a double wall is necessary and in other places a wall wouldn’t help. I’m for whatever it takes to secure our border with Mexico. We’ve got to do it.”
“I’m for enforcing our laws, but not for deporting 11 million people. I think it’s ridiculous. It would cause so much trouble, economically and in other ways. It’s a ridiculous idea. I oppose that. I think that what we need to do is for those here illegally, who are not criminals and want to stay, there should be a path towards a legal presence in the United States.”
On Heat Street, McMullin said specifically that the pathway would be towards “legal residency and, in some cases, citizenship.”
When asked about Syrian refugees, McMullin said, “If you’re a terrorist and you want to come to the United States, the worse possible way to do it is as a refugee. You go through a year-and-a-half to two years of vetting. If you want to come to the United States and you’re a terrorist, you’re much better off just coming through on the visa waiver program from Europe or just walking across the border from Mexico, so I think there is a lot of hysteria and unjustified hysteria around the refugee situation. I think we need to be more careful and thoughtful and accurate with the way we talk about that issue because it has implications for a variety of other interests that we have overseas.
McMullin told ABC News, “I don’t think we should ban people based on their religion. I don’t think we should call an ethnic group racist.”
On ISIS: “The problem is the pace of what we’ve been doing. President Obama has articulated a containment strategy that sort of has a slow road to defeating ISIS. The problem is for an Islamist organization to have a safe haven the size of the one ISIS has, you buy them time to plot and plan the kinds of attacks that happened in Europe, the United States and elsewhere over the last year, so the pace needs to pick up. This isn’t something that we can sort of get around to casually and that’s my objection to what President Obama is doing.”
When a Fox panelist asked if ISIS should be destroyed, McMullin replied, “absolutely.”
The same panelist then followed up with a question about whether American ground forces should be used. “I don’t think we should take anything off the table,” McMullin answered, “but there are a lot of great options… for us before we put troops on the ground. We need to use CIA operations; we need to use our Special Forces. I’ve been there, done that. We are very good at this. We need to train indigenous forces. There are countries in the region who have volunteered to put up their own troops. We need to exhaust some of these things before we go ahead and put traditional troops on the ground. I don’t think it’s necessary. I think we can defeat ISIS through other means….”
On the prisoners at Gitmo: “I don’t think Gitmo should be closed. These are enemy combatants and they deserve to stay where they are until hostilities are completed…. These are people who want to kill Americans en masse. I’ve dealt with these people face-to-face. They are intelligent, many of them, they’re well-traveled, they’re well-studied. These are very motivated people who eat, sleep and drink destroying America and the idea that they shouldn’t be locked up and held…. We need to put ourselves on a war footing and remember that’s what we’re involved in….”
On Russia: “I’m no friend of any authoritarian,” McMullin told ABC. “Donald Trump is an authoritarian and the leaders around the world, in history and currently, that he admires, that he aspires to be in one way or another, are all authoritarians. It’s very interesting that that’s the case. He speaks very openly about it. I think we all need to be concerned with that.”
“I’m no beginner to this game, but Donald Trump is. He sees Putin as a friend. But Putin sees him as a big, fat target.”
In the Washington Post, McMullin called Donald Trump’s pro-Russian advisors “Moscow’s most successful intelligence operation. They must be beside themselves to have co-opted either willingly or unwillingly someone on the doorstep” of the presidency.
On the Second Amendment: On Now This, McMullin said, “I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. I think it is important to our freedoms and liberties here in the United States. I am a gun owner. I believe in responsible gun ownership. I think to own a weapon is to assume some very serious responsibilities I believe that we have to have a better, more constructive dialogue on this issue. I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment. I would like to decrease gun violence. I think there are many ways to do that while we still protect our rights.”
On judicial appointments: Louise Mensch of Heat Street asked whether McMullin would appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court. “I’m not making any commitments about who I would or would not appoint,” McMullin replied, “but I will tell you that I will appoint originalists. In the question that involves what I think about Roe v. Wade, I will appoint pro-life justices.
On entitlements: “Entitlements are pushing us further and further into debt,” he said on Bloomberg. “Our debts are larger and larger. Our deficits are larger and larger. We have to do something to get them on a sustainable path. We have to keep our commitments to our elderly, our seniors today, but we have to phase in some reforms for future retirees.”
On religious freedom: “I believe in libertarian ideas in a sense that individuals need to be more empowered in our country. The power needs to be shifted back closer to the people. Those are consistent with libertarian ideas, but part of that is religious liberty. Our country was founded in part on that and we can’t have a president who doesn’t understand that, especially in this time when we really need to, I think, ensure that religious liberties are protected.”
When asked about his stance against religious persecution, McMullin said, “This is a driving principle for me. We’re a nation of 330 million people and geographically we are also very large. A lot of people have different ideas, they come from different countries, themselves or past generations. We are a diverse, pluralistic country and you must have tolerance as a result of that. E pluribus Unum. This was our original, unofficial motto until, I think, the ‘50s, that conveyed the idea that there are many of us with many differences among us, [but] that we are together still as one country. We need to go back to that and realize that we are not going to agree on everything, all of us on the right and left and center, but we need to respect everybody’s ability to live the way they want to live and to be one, united, in defense of those freedoms.”
On why people should vote for him: “I’ve spent my life avoiding the limelight and seeking opportunities to serve. Donald Trump has spent his life avoiding opportunities to serve and seeking the limelight.”