Conservatives find independent presidential candidate to spoil Trump

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election prospects became slightly dimmer on Monday, as former CIA officer and House Republican Conference policy directer Evan McMullin announced an independent bid for the White House.

McMullin’s candidacy is supported by the non-profit advocacy group Better for America, which is funded in-part by Massachusetts multi-millionaire GOP donor John Kingston, a leading supporter of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

With filing deadlines already having passed to get on the ballot in large electoral states like Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Illinois, however, McMullin’s campaign will most likely to play spoiler to Donald Trump’s already waffling swing-state support.

“Donald Trump appeals to the worst fears of Americans at a time we need unity, not division,” McMullin said in a statement. “Republicans are deeply divided by a man who is perilously close to gaining the most powerful position in the world, and many rightly see him as a threat to our republic.”

Mr. McMullin was born in April 1976 at Provo, Utah, and received a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  McMullin also served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil before joining the CIA in 2001.

Spending a significant amount of time in foreign countries as a counter-terrorism and intelligence officer during the 2000s, McMullin retired from the CIA in 2011 and was hired by Goldman Sachs’ Banking Division in San Francisco.

Although the independent conservative’s bid may be seen as much of an anti-Trump effort as anything else, McMullin didn’t spare criticism of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in his Monday statement.

“Hillary Clinton is a corrupt career politician who has recklessly handled classified information in an attempt to avoid accountability and put American lives at risk, including those of my former colleagues,” he wrote. “She fails the basic tests of judgment and ethics any candidate for president must meet. Moreover, she only offers stale economic ideas like the same old top-down government control that has brought us eight years of historically low growth.”

Mr. McMullin will reportedly file presidential candidacy forms with the Federal Election Commission by Aug. 15.

Read McMullin’s entire official statement here, entitled “My Letter to America“.


[Reuters] [ABC News] [Photo courtesy AP/David Furst/Wikimedia/Salon]