Donald Trump supporter launches homophobic robocall smear campaign against independent candidate Evan McMullin

Automated telephone call mocks the fact Evan McMullin's mother is married to a woman and calls the conservative politician a 'closet homosexual'

Fred Barbash
Tuesday 01 November 2016 13:50 GMT
(Getty Images)

A white nationalist Donald Trump supporter has launched a robocall smear campaign in Utah designed to prevent independent candidate Evan McMullin from winning the state’s six electoral votes.

The calls, which are targeting some 200,000 residents of the conservative state, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, say, among other things, that “Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual”.

They go on to ridicule the fact that Mr McMullin’s mother divorced his father and is now married to a woman.

The sponsor of the campaign, William Johnson, describes himself on the call as a “farmer and white nationalist.”

According to the Tribune, Mr Johnson leads something called the American Freedom Party. He sponsored a similar robocall in March against Mitt Romney after Mr Romney disavowed Mr Trump, called him a fraud and criticised him for tolerating racist leaders.

Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, told CNN: “we strongly condemn this rhetoric and these activities of which we have no knowledge”.

Mr McMullin, a retired CIA officer, called Mr Johnson’s effort “another desperate attack from GOP nominee” Mr Trump “and his racist supporters as he continues to lose ground in Utah”.

Mr McMullin has taken Utah, and the Trump campaign, by surprise.

In the latest Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll, conducted 20-27 October, Mr Trump had a slight lead at 32 percent with Mr McMullin close behind at 30 per cent, (within the margin of error of 3.42 per cent) and Hillary Clinton a distant third, with 24 per cent.

Mr McMullin is clearly getting under the Trump campaign’s skin, as the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote, with both Mr Trump and his running mate Mike Pence ridiculing him.

“Nobody’s ever heard of him,” Mr Pence complained.

Mr McMullin responded to Mr Trump on Twitter that, “Yes you’ve never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad”. He has attacked Mr Trump as an “authoritarian, life-long liberal who disrespects life, liberty and equality”.

Mr Trump supporters have attempted to question Mr McMullin’s record as an undercover CIA officer. But in a Washington Post opinion article published 30 October, Josh Rogin described interviewing six former CIA officers who worked with Mr McMullin.

“What emerged,” Mr Rogin wrote, “was a picture of a young case officer who volunteered for duty in the world’s most dangerous places and had a unique talent for recruiting members of extremist organisations as assets.”

Mr McMullin has spoken openly of his mother’s marriage, while stressing that he personally believes in the “sanctity of traditional marriage” as an important part of his Mormon faith

“My mother has a different view,” he told the Tribune. “That is OK. I love her very much, and she is one of my best friends. She is a wonderful mother.”

He has also told the Tribune he’s aware that people in Utah wonder why he isn’t married, given the importance the Mormon church places on marriage at a relatively young age.

“I spent much of my 20s and early 30s working in a way that made it difficult for me to date,” he told the Tribune, “and I wanted to get married ….My greatest aspiration is to be a husband and a father.”

Here’s the full text of the robocall. You can hear the recording here.

"Hello. My name is William Johnson. I’m 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.

He has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian married to another woman. Evan is okay with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. 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.

I paid for this ad for the American National Super-Pac."

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