ST. GEORGE – Serving as a watchdog over President Donald Trump and Congress while also organizing Americans “in the defense of fundamental principles” is the goal of a new organization announced Wednesday by former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin.
Called “Stand Up Republic,” the group is described as being a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization and was co-founded with Mindy Finn, McMullin’s former running mate. McMullin told the Associated Press that the group will continue a movement he started while running against Trump as an independent candidate last year.
McMullin, a former CIA agent, ran a three month long campaign against Trump in 2016. While he campaigned as a conservative alternative to Trump in various states, his campaign focused on Utah where he finished with 21.5 percent of the vote, making it one of the highest turnouts ever reported for a third-party presidential candidate.
While on the campaign trail McMullin was an outspoken critic of Trump. He said Trump was not a real conservative and was more of a New York-style liberal than anything.
Those criticisms have not stopped and routinely appear on McMullin’s Twitter account.
“Stand Up Republic will help Americans advance the timeless truths upon which our nation was founded, that all are created equal, and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” McMullin said in a press release. “That will necessarily include standing up to the Trump administration when warranted.”
The new administration, McMullin told the Associated Press, is engaged in “purposefully in misrepresenting the truth for a variety of reasons that are extremely dangerous. Donald Trump clearly tries to inflate his political performance. Authoritarians do that commonly.”
Trump’s attacks on media are also a sign of authoritarian tendencies, McMullin said on CNN’s “The Lead.”
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) January 26, 2017
The Trump administration did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from the Associated Press sent to the presidential communications office Wednesday.
McMullin, who has roots in Utah and Washington state but lives in Washington D.C., said he has heard from more liberal-minded people who want to join his cause. The group will be active on social media and provide a way to fund raise and plan events for what McMullin called a growing grassroots movement.
One popular voice expressing support for McMullin’s new group is gay rights advocate and Star Trek actor George Tekai.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 26, 2017
“Our goal is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who want to hold the Trump administration accountable to upholding the Constitution and protecting our rights,” Finn said in a press release. “For freedom to endure, we must defend it.”
Part of Stand Up Republic’s grass roots campaign will include ads over television and social media. Among the first released Wednesday is a 30-second ad called “Secret” which focuses on Trump’s alleged connection to Vladimir Putin and Russia.
While he currently isn’t engaged in a political campaign, McMullin may yet return to the campaign trail as he is considering a potential run for Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seat in 2018. He he has yet to finalize a decision concerning the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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