Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Evan McMullin, an Anti-Trump Republican, Is Running for President

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Evan McMullin, an Anti-Trump Republican, Is Running for President

Article excerpt

Anti-Trump conservative and former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference Evan McMullin is reportedly launching an independent bid for president.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough broke the news on Twitter early Monday morning, writing that Mr. McMullin, who has never held elected office, had "the backing of key $$ contributors in the Republican Party", without elaborating.

McMullin, who became a senior advisor to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2013, spent eleven years as an officer with the CIA, in addition to stints as a volunteer refugee resettlement officer with the United Nations, an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, and a deckhand for a commercial fishing vessel, according to his LinkedIn profile. On Monday morning, he resigned from his post as the chief policy director for the US House of Representatives Republican Conference, ABC reports.

The McMullin candidacy appears to be a last-ditch effort from some of the most outspoken conservative opponents of Donald Trump, who tumbled in the polls following his criticisms of the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. It represents not only a further splintering of the Republican party, but an effort to regain control of the party's message and values.

"If [Trump] was doing better and this was announced, maybe you wouldn't put as much stock in it," says Steve Jarding, a lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and longtime Democratic campaign consultant. McMullin's campaign might not come close to overtaking Trump's, but it could chip away support among conservatives by serving as a reminder of the GOP's core values, Mr. Jarding told the Christian Science Monitor. "I think Trump could win, but I don't think he could win big. If your best scenario for winning is small, you can't afford to lose anything."

McMullin is backed by "Better for America," which earlier this year began an effort to get on the ballot in as many states as possible, with the hopes of drafting a candidate, The New York Times reports.

In contrast to the Republican nominee, McMullin has not shown much of a taste for social media, posting rarely on Twitter and Facebook. …

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