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Trump robocaller ‘apologizes’ for smearing Mormon Evan McMullin as a ‘closet homosexual’ — then drops racist shocker

Evan McMullin. Photo courtesy of Evan McMullin

(RNS) William Johnson, a white supremacist Donald Trump supporter from California, has managed to be outrageously offensive yet again.

First, he came under fire for his smear campaign against independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Mormon who has surged in Utah’s polls to tie with Trump.

To combat McMullin, Johnson spent $2,000 of PAC money to pay for robocalling up to 193,000 Utah voters to urge them to support Trump rather than McMullin.

Here is part of the automated message (which you can hear at

Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman.

Evan is OK with that . . . Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.

Don’t vote for Evan McMullin. Vote for Donald Trump. He will respect all women and be a president we can all be proud of.

The McMullin campaign was outraged by the calls (but not surprised, it said), with McMullin noting that it “is exactly the narrative and the approach the Donald Trump campaign has had.”

The Trump campaign was quick to distance itself, noting that Johnson acted alone in purchasing the automated calls. But as McMullin points out, Trump has fostered a climate in which insults and even threats of violence are encouraged, so “none of this should surprise any of us.”

But here’s a surprise: Johnson “apologized” Wednesday (Nov. 2) in a second statement. Well, kind of. That word is in quotes because what he said quickly devolved from apology to another bizarre attack. Here’s the reasonable first part, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

“I am truly sorry,” said William Johnson, the Los Angeles lawyer and leader of the American Freedom Party and its related PAC. “I am sorry for the mean-spirited message and I humbly retract its contents.”

Sounds good so far, huh? Unfortunately, Johnson kept going, as Fox13 in Salt Lake City reports with his full statement:

I sent the robocalls out because Utah is a strong family-values state and America and the West is gripped by an extreme and fatal malady: failure to marry and have children. The white birth rate is so astonishingly low that Western Civilization will soon cease to exist. I felt that Evan McMullin typified that perfidious mentality.

Um, yeah. It seems McMullin is “perfidious” (does Johnson even know what that word means?) because he has committed the grave sin of having white skin but not yet reproducing to populate America with more white people.

Apparently, without more white children, “Western Civilization will soon cease to exist.”

Racist comments appear to be par for the course for Johnson, whose Wikipedia page shows a long history of racist rhetoric and white nationalist extremism. Writing as “James O. Pace” in the 1980s, he authored a book in which he demanded that U.S. citizenship be reserved only for non-Hispanic whites with European ancestry and “no ascertainable trace of Negro blood.”

The Los Angeles Times did some investigative reporting on him and his multiple aliases in 2008 when he was running for office. According to the Times, Johnson falsified some parts of his educational and work history, and has unsuccessfully run for Congress in both Wyoming and Arizona, as well as local offices in California.

Oh, and did I mention? Apparently Johnson is (or at least once was) a Mormon. He served a mission in Japan and went to Brigham Young University.

I just can’t even.



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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.