For the first time, Donald Trump went after conservative independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, who appears to be running only a few points behind Trump in the deep-red state of Utah.
McMullin, in turn, sniped back in the inaugural war of words between the candidates.
In an interview with Fox News that aired on Saturday, the Republican presidential nominee accused McMullin of being a political tool used by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
“The guy takes votes away from me,” Trump said. “He’s a puppet of a loser.”
He added: “The guy takes votes away from me. You know, we’re going to win Utah. But he takes votes away from me, this man who I never heard of.”
McMullin quickly responded on Twitter, pointing out that he was serving in Iraq around the time that Trump has been accused of sexually harassing women.
Here’s part of his late-night tweetstorm:
.@realDonaldTrump, Yes you’ve never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad. https://t.co/hNDTWn3HPN
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) October 30, 2016
McMullin, a practicing Mormon, has picked up steam almost exclusively in Utah. The state consists of a high percentage of Mormon
voters, many of whom have been alienated by Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric. According to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, McMullin is tied with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with just over 25% support in Utah, while Trump on Sunday averaged 31% support in the state.
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