Independent Conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin entered into hostile territory on Tuesday, facing off against an argumentative CNBC panel that accused him of trying to take electoral votes away from Republican Donald Trump for the benefit of Democrat Hillary Clinton.
McMullin, a former CIA counterterrorism officer and House Republican policy director, has risen from complete obscurity to being in the position to win the state of Utah and its six electoral college votes — the first third-party candidate to win an individual state since 1968 — after entering the race just 10 weeks ago.
McMullin said he was excited about the traction his campaign has seen in Utah and other Mountain West states like Wyoming and Idaho, then addressed host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera’s question regarding whether he’s just helping Hillary Clinton and hurting Donald Trump.
“He’s not going to beat Hillary Clinton unless something truly dramatic and incredible happens,” McMullin told Caruso-Cabrera. “He’s down in all of the electoral college projections.
“This is why I and my running mate, Mindy Finn, both warned the Republican Party not to nominate Donald Trump,” McMullin continued. “He’s an absolutely terrible candidate. He had no chance, even against a deeply corrupt and flawed candidate that Hillary Clinton is. And that’s the reality,” he contended.
The interview then got heated when CNBC’s Joe Kernan jumped into the fray.
“Evan, God bless you but you don’t know…Brexit, Brexit, Brexit,” an overly emotional Kernan interrupted, cocking his head back and to the side like he was about to faint.
“If you want to ignore the polls, that’s fine,” McMullin shot back.
“Then let’s not have the election,” a clearly butthurt Kernan fired back.
Kernan attempted to make the flawed argument that somehow the Brexit vote, Britain’s vote to exit the European Union is somehow related to the United States presidential election and McMullin effectively crushed the narrative.
“I’m sorry, you’re talking about a popular vote, I’m talking about the projections in the Electoral College. You can deny that all you want, like a Trump supporter, but that’s the reality,” a smiling McMullin told an angry Kernan.
“You’re taking votes away from the Republican and you’re making it harder to stop Hillary Clinton,” Kernan argued.
“So I’m taking votes away from Donald Trump? He might be the Republican [nominee] but he’s no conservative,” McMullin said. “He wants to grow the size of the federal government. He wants single-payer health care. He’s always been in favor of late-term abortions, doesn’t support the Second Amendment. This guy wants to increase the size of our national debt. Is that what you’re hoping for — is that what you’re defending?” he rhetorically asked Kernan.
After the heated exchange with Joe Kernan, billionaire Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot, got into a reasonable discussion about voter anger among Americans from all political persuasions. McMullin agreed with Langone’s assessment that voter anger and frustration is real and must be addressed and declared that returning the concentration of power in Washington, D.C. back to the states, as the Founding Fathers intended, would cure many of the ills America currently feels.
“I think the kind of leadership we need in this country is the kind of leadership that will return power to the states. There’s too much power concentrated in Washington, D.C. That ends up meaning that the 330 million of us fight over the decisions that are made there. Big corporation dollars fight over the decisions — chase those decisions there. It breeds corruption.
We’ve got a government that believes it’s unaccountable to the American people. We’ve got to return power to the states. That’s how our founders envisioned this.”
“We’ve got to return power to the states and that will solve a lot of our problems,” McMullin asserted.
McMullin told Langone that he supported term limits, as Trump very recently proposed but argued that is no reason to excuse Trump’s candidacy.
“I support term limits, but I’m sorry…that’s hardly an excuse for Donald Trump’s candidacy, which as been a bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic candidacy that has divided this country — even during this race. He’s not president, he won’t be president but he’s still divided this country. He’s done enormous harm to our country even as a candidate.”
McMullin concluded by revealing that when he was a policy director for Congress, Donald Trump visited and “proclaimed for parts of the Constitution that don’t even exist.”
“This is the kind of guy he is,” McMullin stated.