Meet The Former CIA Officer Running For President

Photo: Courtesy of Evan McMullin.
Donald Trump is "a larger threat to our national security than ISIS itself," the latest independent candidate to join the presidential race, Evan McMullin, said in a speech earlier this year. Now, the former CIA operative is attempting to take on Trump himself by getting his name on the ballot as an alternative to the Republican nominee. He joined the race with 89 days to go until Election Day. But as McMullin's Twitter bio states, "It’s never too late to do the right thing." McMullin, who declared his candidacy on August 8, is trying to achieve what no independent candidate has done since George Washington — win the White House. He joins other candidates like the Green Party's Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson, who are also vying for the Oval Office. For McMullin to have a chance, he needs to compete in as many states as possible. But he has already missed the cutoff to get his name on many ballots. Still, McMullin remains optimistic: "We hope to be on all 50, in fact," the newly declared candidate told CNN this week. According to election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, McMullin joined the race on a a crucial deadline for McMullin to get his name on the ballot in Alaska, Connecticut, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Ohio. "Either his campaign is very well organized and will submit petitions in these states today, or his campaign isn't well organized," Winger told Refinery29 via email. Regardless, McMullin is a relative unknown. So, who is he, why is he running, and where does he stand on the issues?

There are just 89 days to go until Election Day, but as McMullin's Twitter bio states, 'It’s never too late to do the right thing.'

He's a former CIA operative, businessman, and GOP policy director
McMullin is a 40-year-old, unmarried member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The independent candidate, originally from Provo, UT, has never held elective office. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international law and diplomacy at Brigham Young University and a master’s in business administration from the prestigious Wharton Business School, according to the biography on his campaign website. According to McMullin’s website, after a Mormon missionary service in Brazil and volunteering for refugees in Jordan, he worked for the CIA "spearheading counterterrorism and intelligence operations in some of the most dangerous places on Earth." He spent 11 years with the agency, telling Fox News: "I served overseas undercover opposing terrorist organizations, running covert operations against them." After a stint with Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division, McMullin became a senior advisor for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to his LinkedIn profile. Most recently, he was the House Republican Conference chief policy director.
Why is he running and who supports him?
"Like millions of Americans, I had hoped this year would bring us better nominees who, despite party differences, could offer compelling visions of a better future,” McMullin wrote in a "Letter to America" on his website. "Instead, we have been left with two candidates who are fundamentally unfit for the profound responsibilities they seek." He refers to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a “corrupt career politician”; and Trump, McMullin believes, “appeals to the worst fears of Americans.” The candidate is reported to be backed by the super PAC Better for America, according to The New York Times, as well as the newly created Stand Up America PAC.
Where does McMullin stand on the issues?
McMullin’s position on major issues in the 2016 campaign hasn’t yet been explained in length or detail. But according do the candidate’s website, he wants the “strongest and most capable military” and believes “withdrawing from the world makes us less safe.” On immigration, he calls for strong, secure borders and a policy favoring those “who bring unique skills, innovative ideas, technologies, and companies to our country.” McMullin believes Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens should not be compromised, but there should be “national efforts” to fight against gun use by criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill.

He advocates for a “lean, simple” tax code, a reduction in government regulations and in negotiating stronger trade deals. There is too much power concentrated in Washington, McMullin thinks. Schools, for one thing, should be controlled locally, his website states. President Barack Obama's healthcare law has failed American families and driven up costs — “competition, deregulation, and innovation” are better options, according to the candidate’s website. And Veterans? He thinks they should be at liberty to pick the healthcare options and care most suitable for them. McMullin is strongly anti-abortion. His website states that “a culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person — it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike.” He adds further, “Americans can and should work together to increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights.” It’s incredibly unlikely that McMullin can win the presidential race. He is, however, the only current Republican yet to launch a third-party anti-Trump bid — and he could potentially make a small dent in Trump’s numbers.

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