Independent candidate Evan McMullin says Donald Trump 'must be stopped'
BY: WILLIAM STEAKIN
Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin realizes his chances of winning the 2016 election are slim, but the presidential hopeful wants voters to reject the notion that they have to choose between the "lesser of two evils."
McMullin told AOL.com that while his candidacy may be a "longshot," he's nevertheless determined to stop both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from winning the election so that neither become the 45th president of the United States.
McMullin said he considers himself the "voice for conservatism that hasn't been represented in this election." And unlike the two primary presidential candidates, he says he is "committed to liberty, and committed to tolerance."
"I am the only conservative candidate in this election," McMullin said.
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The 40-year-old first time politician from Provo, Utah, didn't mince words while discussing why it was necessary for someone to step up and offer a "conservative" alternative to Clinton and Trump.
One aspect of Trump's campaign that the former CIA operative found particularly disturbing is Trump's "engagement" with Russian President Vladimir Putin. McMullin said Trump is a "authoritarian like Vladimir Putin," adding that the billionaire businessman "presents a true danger to our democracy."
"Trump fancies himself one of the world's greatest negotiators, but he's being played by a KGB officer ... "
"He would create a police state in our country and would violate the constitution at every turn," he said. "Trump must be stopped from gaining leadership in this country."
Speculation over Trump's relationship with Putin and Russia jumped back into headlines following the GOP candidate's comments during Wednesday night's Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC.
Trump defended his often celebratory praise for Putin saying, "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him." The GOP nominee added that Putin is a great leader, citing his "strong control over his country."
The Independent candidate said these comments were "alarming," and not only is Trump an "authoritarian like Putin," but according to McMullin, he is actually "being manipulated by Putin."
"Trump fancies himself one of the world's greatest negotiators, but he's being played by a KGB officer and he may not even realize it," McMullin said. "I think his foolish engagement with Putin demonstrates that he is not intelligent enough to represent the United States with engagement with other world leaders."
McMullin also criticized Trump for his defense during Wednesday's forum of a controversial tweet from 2013 about sexual assault in the military. "It's another demonstration of Trump's misogyny," the Independent candidate said. "This a man who believes that women are less capable than men."
McMullin rejected the idea that men and women are unable of serve in the military, calling Trump's assertion "absolutely incorrect."
While McMullin didn't hold back from criticizing Donald Trump's, he also had some pointed things to say about the Democratic presidential nominee.
McMullin said Clinton's use of a private email server should disqualify her from the presidency. However, there's a personal aspect for McMullin regarding Clinton's handling of classified information. With his CIA ties, McMullin said Clinton "put the lives of my former colleagues at risk by having that private email server.
"That alone should be disqualifying," he said. "We simply cannot have an American president who believes he or she is unaccountable to the American people. We just can't have it."
"We have got to start casting our votes for better leaders."
Like many Americans, McMullin was hoping a third party candidate would challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prior jumping into the race. The former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference says he plans to do what he can to deny the primary candidates a majority vote in the Electoral College, something that hasn't happened since the 1824 election.
McMullin dismissed the idea that Americans who chose to cast a vote for him were throwing away their votes, and challenged what he called a push for voters to choose between the "lesser of two evils."
"Politicians have been selling us the lesser of two evils argument for a long time," McMullin said.
"If we want good leaders in this country, we have to use our votes, which are our voices, to support them. We have got to start casting our votes for better leaders."