WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The language is so coarse and vulgar that the ad has shock value even with the curse words covered by digital “bleeps.” Its creator said the vicious verbal attack against one of his campaign staffers is representative of those regularly received by opponents of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“It’s a reflection of what’s happened in this presidential campaign and across our country where, I believe, because of Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric, other people have stepped up and felt that that kind of rhetoric, that kind of speech, those kinds of attacks are ok,” conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin told WUSA9 Thursday.
The digital ad, featuring audio of an actual voicemail purportedly left by a Trump supporter for McMullin’s Communications Director Rina Shah, has been seen more than 20,000 times on YouTube, and shared hundreds of times from the candidate’s Facebook page alone.
“I felt that this one was particularly egregious and was a good example of what’s happening in our country and it needed to be brought before the American people,” McMullin said.
McMullin’s campaign largely exists to be a foil to Trump’s. The former CIA officer and chief policy director for congressional Republicans entered the race only after Trump accepted the nomination, and after it became clear no candidate with greater name recognition would enter the race to oppose him.
“I would not be running if it had been, essentially, anyone else who had been in the Republican primary,” McMullin said. “I think they all would have made acceptable candidates. I think some of them would have been very good.”
McMullin rejected Republican criticism that his presence in the race will be a boon to Hillary Clinton. He argued that his goal is to see neither candidate reach 270 electoral votes, and throw the race to the Republican-controlled house, from which a more acceptable candidate might emerge.
“I’m calling on Americans to not buy in to the lesser of two evils argument with their vote,” McMullin said. “We’ve been sold that argument for so long. As of a result of that, the standards we have for our leaders have dropped and the quality of our leaders have dropped.”
McMullin, aided by several former staffers for Mitt Romney, is targeting the Mountain West states, especially Utah, where a recent poll had him hitting nine percent.
“We understood before we launched that it would be very difficult. But we believe that it’s a fight worth having,” McMullin said.