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#NeverTrump Candidate McMullin Envisions A Country Of Understanding, Respect

Former CIA agent Evan McMullin announces his presidential campaign as an independent candidate on Aug. 10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
George Frey
Getty Images
Former CIA agent Evan McMullin announces his presidential campaign as an independent candidate on Aug. 10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

For voters dissatisfied with both major party candidates, there are a few other options. There's Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and a lesser known late arrival to the scene — Evan McMullin.

McMullin is running as an independent with support from the #NeverTrump movement. He has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump — and he's seen as a conservative alternative to the candidate. He has blasted Trump as personally unstable on his website and "a real threat to our Republic."

McMullin has worked for the CIA, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Goldman Sachs, and as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference.

The 40-year-old Utah Mormon has qualified for the ballot in his state and his candidacy there could potentially split the state's conservative vote, giving Hillary Clinton an avenue to win what has traditionally been a red state. In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, McMullin argued he is the best candidate on national security. He also spoke about his stance on the Affordable Care Act, trade and Syrian refugees.

Interview Highlights

On why he's the most qualified on national security

I believe that one of the largest challenges this country faces is that of national security right now. It comes from terrorism threats as well as others.

And I am prepared on day one to handle those unlike any of the other candidates.

I also understand in a way that I think the other candidates do not what kind of reforms this government needs to put in place and to advance in order for the American people to feel once again like they're being heard by their government and like their government is accountable to them.

On his plan for Syria

Syria's an issue I've worked quite a long time on. ...

I believe that we've made some mistakes as a country in the way we've responded to that and not just as a country but as an international community. The longer we've waited to engage, the worse it's gotten and now it's affecting whole world. We have a refugee crisis that's the largest humanitarian disaster since World War II. These refugee flows into Europe are destabilizing Europe. They're also creating political strife here in the United States, our civil liberties and our ideals as a country are now being threatened by some of the rhetoric coming from Donald Trump. ...

We need to get serious about defeating ISIS, we just aren't serious about it yet, I would be very serious about getting it done, I know how to do it. We need to take the fight to them on the battlefield in a more serious way. We also need to be more seriously committed to fighting the ideological battle, this is a battle of ideas just as much as it is a traditional battle on the field.

On whether he'd overturn the Affordable Care Act

What I would do is look for a better option. We see it not delivering what, I think, even its proponents hoped it would. Premiums are going up for many middle class Americans who are already suffering. Insurance companies, as we saw just this last week, are pulling out of the exchanges.

There are good things about it — for example, people with pre-existing conditions ... but we can do better. We need to do better so that everybody has better access to care and better care and it's done more affordably. The ACA didn't do anything about the underlying costs of health care, which is part of its problem. So I'm for delivering the most convenient, highest quality health care to all Americans. ...

We're a wealthy, capable country that can get this done. It's less than an entitlement, but just something that we can do.

On his vision for the country

We're a country of 330 million people. It is absolutely natural that we're going to have different ideas and different background and different preferences on a whole range of things. But in this country, we are all empowered to pursue happiness. That was the "why" of our country — that's what our founders envisioned for this country. And it wasn't perfect but over time we've done better and better and better.

We need to get to a place where we understand that we're not always going to agree with each other on everything but we're in a place in which we still respect each other's decisions. ...

I'm advocating for a new era in American politics and society where we understand that we're all different, we're all different people and we embrace those differences, and we respect those differences and we allow people to pursue happiness in the way they'd wish.

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