UTAH – Getting the occasional robocall during a political season is nothing new. This election year, though, in parts of Utah where independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin is polling higher than Donald Trump, Utahns are getting a call from a man bashing McMullin while also asking them to support the Republican nominee.
The call is hitting 193,000 voters and features the recorded voice of white nationalist and Trump supporter William Johnson.
According to CNN, the calls cost Johnson around $2,000 and were produced through the American National Super PAC.
“My name is William Johnson. I am a farmer and a white nationalist. I make this call against Evan McMullin and in support of Donald Trump,” Johnson says in the call.
While a robocall of someone calling a candidate’s policies and politics into question isn’t out of the norm, it doesn’t take long for Johnson to get personal:
Evan McMullin is an open borders amnesty supporter. Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian married to another woman. Evan is OK 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.
McMullin responded with a series of strongly worded tweets Monday – calling it another “desperate attack” spreading “baseless lies” by Trump and his “racist supporters as he continues to lose ground in Utah.” He said the attack is consistent with Trump’s “bigoted, deceitful campaign and vision for America. Utahns won’t be fooled.”
Johnson said the calls, which began Monday, will continue through Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
McMullin has gained increasing popularity in Utah as an alternative to Trump. Some Utah voters are unable to tolerate Trump’s comments and behavior, especially in the wake of the recording released last month of Trump’s lewd comments concerning women.
In some statewide polls, McMullin has been shown to be very close to, or ever-so-slightly ahead of Trump.
A recent Salt Lake Tribune-Hinkley Institute poll put Trump ahead at 32 percent, McMullin at 30 percent and Hillary Clinton at 24 percent.
McMullin responded to Johnson’s call in more detail during an interview with Fox 13 News.
“I was raised in a traditional Mormon family and when I grew up my parents divorced and my mother is married to a woman now,” McMullin told Fox 13 News.
While the two disagree on the subject of same-sex marriage, McMullin said his mother remains one of his best friends.
Regarding the Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal, McMullin has told St. George News and other media outlets that, while he believes in traditional marriage, he also supports the high court’s ruling as it is the law of the land.
Johnson’s claim that McMullin might be “closet homosexual” is also untrue, McMullin said.
“The truth is I’m straight first of all – put that on the record,” he said.
McMullin, a Mormon, told the Salt Lake Tribune that he knows people wonder why he has not married, considering many in his religion marry in their early 20s. He said his 11-year career in the CIA made it difficult to date and that he hopes to marry and become a father soon.
While Trump has begun to take shots at McMullin, his campaign has denounced the robocalls.
“We strongly condemn this rhetoric and these activities of which we have no knowledge,” Trump spokesman Hope Hicks told CNN Monday.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who himself is a Trump supporter, also condemned the robocalls.
“I join Donald Trump’s condemnation of offensive robo calls circulating in Utah by a so-called Trump supporter regarding Evan McMullin,” Reyes said in a statement.
Reyes followed the condemnation of the call with the reasons why he supports Trump, which are related to the U.S. Supreme Court and other issues related to the nation’s judiciary system.
The statement was read by Sen. Orrin Hatch at a Trump support rally held by GOP leaders in Salt Lake City Tuesday.
During the rally, Trump supporters – some of whom had previously stated they would not vote for him, such as Rep. Chris Stewart – asked voters to “come home” to the Republican party and support the nominee.
“It is time for us to rally around and to support the Republican nominee,” Stewart said, according to Fox 13 News. “The future of our country hangs in the balance.”
As McMullin is considered by some Republicans to be a spoiler who will take votes from Trump and thereby enable Clinton to take the election, his name was tossed around and some shouting “Never McMullin” when mentioned at the rally.
“Evan McMullin, you are not Utah’s savior! In fact, you are stealing votes from the moral choice and giving them to the crooked choice!” conservative activist Cherilyn Eager said, as reported by Fox 13 News.
McMullin responded to the rally Tuesday via Twitter.
“Going home” should be about recommitting ourselves to life, liberty, and equality, not supporting Trump as he attacks those principles.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) November 1, 2016
The Associated Press contributed to this article
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