A former CIA counterterrorism officer and congressional staffer is launching a long-shot third-party bid for president, aiming to provide a conservative alternative to Republican nominee Donald Trump. The candidate's name is Evan McMullin and his campaign staff consists of operatives from the super PAC Better for America, ABC News reports.
"In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it's time for a generation of new leadership to step up," said McMullin in a Monday statement first provided to ABC. "It's never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President."
It may not be too late for the 40-year-old McMullin, who until Monday morning was the chief policy director of the Republican conference in the House of Representatives, but it doesn't look easy. The deadlines for independent presidential candidates to receive access to the ballot has passed in 25 states, with deadlines in several more states coming soon.
Requests for comment from McMullin's nascent campaign staff have not been returned.
Here's more from ABC on McMullin:
McMullin was born in Provo, Utah, and earned a bachelor's degree in international law and diplomacy from Brigham Young University and a master's of business administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. McMullin served as a Mormon missionary in Brazil and volunteer refugee resettlement officer in Amman, Jordan, on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was in training at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He completed his training and volunteered for overseas service in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, spearheading counterterrorism and intelligence operations in some of the most dangerous nations, according to the group. Once he left the CIA in 2011, McMullin went to work for Goldman Sachs in the San Francisco Bay Area and in 2013 became a senior adviser on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and later the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference.
Update: McMullin has released a letter on his new campaign website detailing his reasons for running:
My Fellow Americans, Our American Nation is the greatest experiment in freedom the world has ever known. It's given generations of citizens the blessings of liberty ever since the Founding Fathers risked their lives in what seemed like an improbable bid for independence. While the republic they created was one of imperfect freedoms, for 240 years the arc of progress and liberty has moved ever-upward. Even in times of economic crisis and war, our nation has been a singular source of hope for people throughout the world yearning for liberty, dignity and opportunity. I proudly and quietly served our country for most of my adult life, first as an undercover operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and more recently as a senior national security and policy advisor in the House of Representatives. My service has given me unique, firsthand knowledge of the threats our nation faces, the burdens borne by hardworking Americans, and the numerous areas of our government that desperately need reform. 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. Instead, we have been left with two candidates who are fundamentally unfit for the profound responsibilities they seek. Hillary Clinton is a corrupt career politician who has recklessly handled classified information in an attempt to avoid accountability and put American lives at risk including those of my former colleagues. She fails the basic tests of judgment and ethics any candidate for President must meet. Moreover, she only offers stale economic ideas like the same old top-down government control that has brought us eight years of historically low growth. Donald Trump appeals to the worst fears of Americans at a time we need unity, not division. Republicans are deeply divided by a man who is perilously close to gaining the most powerful position in the world, and many rightly see him as a real threat to our Republic. Given his obvious personal instability, putting him in command of our military and nuclear arsenal would be deeply irresponsible. His infatuation with strongmen and demagogues like Vladimir Putin is anathema to America values. We cannot and must not elect him. Millions of Americans are not being represented by either of these candidates; those of us who care about the strength of the military and intelligence services find little to embrace in either Trump or Clinton. Americans who believe in limited, Constitutional government that is smaller, smarter, and more accountable view both Clinton and Trump as symbols of corruption and excess that provide no hope of basic competence in the federal government. Those who embrace the dignity and value of every human life from conception until death; who understand the crushing danger of our unsustainable national debt; who believe deference to our Constitution outweighs partisan political priorities are all looking for something better than the two major party candidates are offering. These foundational and time-tested principles transcend party and politics but sadly have no champion in this election. We must not abandon the fight for these values, for doing so will deprive future generations of Americans the bright future we want to give them. With the stakes so high for our nation and at this late stage in the process, I can no longer stand on the sidelines. Our country needs leaders who are in it for the right reasons and who actually understand what makes this country the greatest on earth. Leaders who will unite us and guide us to a prosperous, secure future, beyond the dysfunction of a broken political system. Just as the American Revolution required men and women devoted to liberty and freedom to stand up and be counted, this moment calls a new generation to the same sacred task. With that in mind, I have decided to pursue the cause of American renewal and the Presidency of the United States of America. With Hope For Our Future, Evan McMullin