A prominent white nationalist who supports Donald J. Trump has started a smear campaign against Evan McMullin, the independent candidate who is running close with Mr. Trump in Utah, with a robocall accusing him of secretly being a homosexual who supports open borders and amnesty.
The robocall, which the white nationalist, William Johnson, narrates and is being made across Utah, demonstrates how concerned Trump supporters are that a Republican could lose the state for the first time since 1964. It is also the latest example of Mr. Trump attracting support from fringe political activists who are shunned by most mainstream Republicans.
In a deeply personal attack, Mr. Johnson says in the call: “Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman.”
After claiming that Mr. McMullin supports same-sex marriage and that he does not have a girlfriend, Mr. Johnson adds: “I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.”
The calls are intended to turn off Utah’s large Mormon population, which traditionally votes for Republicans but has misgivings about Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Recent polls show Mr. McMullin statistically tied with Mr. Trump in the state.
In an interview with CNN, Mr. Johnson said that he did not know if Mr. McMullin was actually gay, and he struggled to pronounce his name.
On Twitter, Mr. McMullin said he was not gay and denounced the attack as “baseless lies.”
A California resident, Mr. Johnson said he was just doing his part to help Mr. Trump get elected by spending $2,000 to call nearly 200,000 landlines in Utah. He said that he had paid for the ad through the American National “super PAC,” which he runs.
While the Trump campaign disavowed the robocalls, it was not the Trump campaign’s first encounter with Mr. Johnson.
This year Mr. Johnson was included on a list of California delegates that Mr. Trump’s campaign submitted to the secretary of state’s office. He was later removed from the list.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Mr. Johnson believes in the deportation of nonwhites as a “pre-emptive strike in defense of real Americans.”
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