Guest opinion: Even in a world of stubborn never-Trumpers, Evan McMullin is still wrong for Utah

It must be very embarrassing indeed nowadays to be a “Never Trump” Republican. While many of us were uncertain about Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2015, his presidency should have wiped away any doubt, and the last 14 months should have erased any lingering doubt from our collective memories. 

Before the insane over-reaction to the coronavirus crashed it, Trump had given America the best economy it had seen in 60 years. His common-sense energy policy made the US so wealthy we were exporting oil to the Middle East. He was the first president since Jimmy Carter to not initiate any new conflicts, and he negotiated four – FOUR! – peace deals between Israel and its Arab neighbors. 

With him out of the way now, corrupt Democrat mayors and governors continued to impose vicious, pointless corona lockdowns. We have skyrocketing gas prices, inflation, and housing prices. The pullout from Afghanistan was the biggest disaster in American foreign policy, and Russia has begun a new expansionist campaign. Indeed, 62 percent of Americans agree that if Trump were still president, Putin would not have invaded Ukraine. 

This year is going to be the mother of all red waves, and the Republican candidates that wave brings to Washington are our best hope for putting American back on course. 

But will this wave help things here in Utah? 

For some reason, otherwise conservative Utahns are happy to vote for weak, spineless, sometimes openly liberal politicians because they have a smile and an R after their name. While other red states enjoy leaders who have dug in their heels, we have to tolerate politicians who are all to happy to cave. 

But the most vapid instance of the Never Trump Utahns is Evan McMullin. 

If you haven’t heard of him, McMullin ran for president in 2016 to deep-six Trump’s campaign, and this year he’s trying to do the same to beloved Sen. Mike Lee – the man so principled and reliably conservative he is a walking argument in favor of human cloning. 

While McMullin has always run as an independent, he is transparently a globalist, big-government, establishment Democrat. He supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, endorsed Joe Biden in 2020, and fought to keep Ben McAdams in Congress. McAdams had somehow managed to convince Utahns that – despite his very liberal record – he’s the second coming of Jim Matheson, and McMullin was only too happy to extend the lie. 

McMullin claims to be a conservative, but attacks Republicans at every opportunity. Fatuously insisting that we must restore “the vision that once guided us,” McMullin eagerly joins in with Democrats and their allied media to gaslight conservative Americans with the predictable accusations of (yawn) racism or sexism or whatever weaponized- victim-‘ism’ of the day. He ignores Trump’s irrefutable successes on the economy and foreign policy, and shrugs his shoulders at the Biden Administration’s unending disasters, both home and abroad. 

As a former undercover CIA operative, McMullin is probably just as disappointed as the rest of the Deep State that Trump didn’t start any wars. Also, as a former CIA operative he is trained in the art of deception, and is trying to deceive the people of Utah that he is an independent who is conservative enough for Republicans, yet hateful of the Trump wing of the party to garner votes from Democrats. 

It might be easy to call McMullin’s “no really, I’m a conservative, you guys” act treachery, but his interest could be financial. See, McMullin’s quixotic presidential campaign left him about $600,000 in debt. Since then, he’s played a political shell-game where he started a nonprofit – Stand Up Republican Foundation, Inc – and used donations to pay himself. 

According to his own tax documents, obtained by Influence Watch and Pro Publica, the Stand Up Republic Foundation (also known as Stand Up Ideas, Inc.) raised millions and much of it went to the partnership McMullin Finn, LLC, in 2017 and 2018. The appearance of self-dealing may not be illegal, but it sure stinks and appears to be an example of a guy setting up a non-profit to become a millionaire at the expense of donors.

Although the United States created the relative peace and stability of the last 80 years or so, in the post-Trump world we see a chaos that could spin completely out of control. That there are people who don’t recognize this danger is scary, that there are those who seek to profit from it is galling. Utah needs to reject fake conservatives who have swarmed our state and help restore order to the world before it is too late.

Jared Whitley worked in the US Senate for Orrin Hatch, the Bush White House, and the defense industry. He has won myriad Utah journalism awards, notably as best column writer from the Best of the West competition in 2016. He has an MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai and currently lives in Taylorsville.