Independent candidate Evan McMullin unveils first attack ad of Senate campaign

Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 19:35:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin unleashed his first ad attacking incumbent Rep. Sen. Mike Lee, who McMullin wants to replace in the November general election.

The ad says Lee was privy to information he should have shared to help prevent the disastrous events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

“We can't have senators who play footsie with efforts to overturn our elections,” McMullin told FOX 13 News in an exclusive interview before releasing the ad.

The ad looks familiar to any political observer, with unflattering pictures and headlines appearing ripped from a newspaper.

“Senator Mike Lee advised Trump's legal challenges to overturn our election,” the narrator intones.

Lee has acknowledged he was in contact with Trump’s lawyers in November and December of 2020, giving them his opinions on various legal strategies.

What the ad doesn’t say is that Lee came to the opinion that Trump’s team hadn’t come up with a successful blueprint to achieve their desired result, which was keeping Trump in the White House. Lee told the administration they didn’t have a case and should not pursue overturning the election in the Senate.

Lee didn’t accept the station's invitation to respond to the ad, but a source close to him pointed out evidence that Lee was clear enough to Trump that the former president publicly turned on the Senator in January of 2021.

“Mike Lee is here, but I’m a little angry at him today,” Trump told a crowd rallying for a Senate runoff in Georgia on January 4, 2021.

McMullin acknowledges that Lee did not support the last-gasp effort to get the Senate and Vice President to declare the election for Trump on January 6. It was the possibility of such an outcome that inspired the rowdy crowd gathered outside the White House to storm the capitol, break in, injure capitol police and destroy property.

The ad says Lee was, “…one of only two Senators who were in on the scheme, receiving the plans four days before the January Sixth insurrection.”

Lee told long-time political reporter Sam Benson with that he did get a memo outlining the plan to accept alternate electors and overturn the election.

To McMullin, Lee’s opposition is less important than the way he opposed it.

“This is the moment you go outside and hold a press conference and talk to the country,” McMullin said.