Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media told about Sen. Mike Lee in the '22 election
Correcting the record as Nov. 8 approaches
By Stephen Stone
November 2, 2022

(Updated Nov. 8, 2022, 3:47 am)

With less than a week to go before the Nov. 8 election, let’s take a quick look at the most outrageous falsehoods the Democrat-aligned media and their point man, Evan McMullin, have perpetuated to unseat Utah’s senior U.S. senator, Mike Lee.

It should be obvious to anyone who’s taken the time to closely follow the Lee-McMullin race that the media are rooting for the “opportunistic gadfly” McMullin (to use Mike Lee’s appropriate label), even helping McMullin shape and disseminate his talking points. Missing from media accounts is an accurate and fair representation of relevant facts. Let’s correct McMullin and the media’s distorted perception of Mike Lee—in the interest of preserving the strength and integrity of the United States Senate, at a time when both major parties are struggling for control of that vitally important chamber of Congress.

Doing so is critical to reining in the most anti-American (not to mention inept) resident of the White House in our nation’s history—Joe Biden.

In view of what our country needs if we are to avoid further erosion of our nation’s economy, moral strength, cultural unity, and political system, the last thing we need is another non-conservative politician in the mold of Mitt Romney in the halls of Congress. McMullin evidently esteems Mitt as his role model and believes Utah will be well served if the state has two such “NeverTrumpers” representing its people in DC.

Now, the lies—

Lie #1: Lee tried to “overturn” the 2020 election

McMullin and the Democrat-aligned media are telling voters to shun Mike Lee not only because he is closely affiliated with Donald Trump’s vision of America-First conservatism, but because he stood with Trump after disturbing evidence emerged following the 2020 election that the election had been seriously corrupted. They go so far as to claim that Lee was part of an effort to “overturn” that election “so that he and his allies could hold onto power.”

During the informal media Q&A at the end of the Oct. 17 debate between Lee and McMullin, McMullin told the media:

“[W]hen you try to help a president who has been defeated by the will of the people to stay in power despite the will of the people, that is the most egregious betrayal you could imagine, I think, of our Constitution and the American republic. So votes aside, we need people who are willing to defend our constitutional system no matter who’s in power. And when the will of the people is voiced through a free and fair election, that needs to be reflected in a peaceful transfer of power. Sen. Lee was part of an effort to overturn that system so that he and his allies could hold onto power.”

The Deseret News writer who shared the above statement by McMullin from the Oct.17 media Q&A happens to be the same Deseret News writer who went on a tear earlier in the election season to create a story that Lee had engaged in an elaborate scheme to “overturn” the 2020 election—even though there was no actual evidence of such a scheme laid out objectively in the article itself, an article that inadvertently makes perfectly clear that Lee and other Republicans undertook only a “legal” and “constitutional” effort to “restore the fundamental fairness and integrity of our election system” after disturbing irregularities in a handful of swing states emerged that could have influenced the outcome of the election.

Hence the clear words from Lee to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a message dated Nov. 7, 2020, in which Lee offered his “unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans’ faith in our elections” (emphasis added). See the article here.

The use of the term “overturn” in the above Deseret News article to characterize Lee’s effort comes solely from those persons who are the subtle focus of the article—Lee’s three ambitious political opponents during the 2022 election season: Becky Edwards, Ally Isom, and Evan McMullin. Not once is the term “overturn” used in any of the promised “text messages” the article claims to cite as its primary evidence.

The original hit piece—dated April 15, 2022—that purported to expose Lee’s efforts to help Trump essentially steal the 2020 election was titled “Texts reveal how Sen. Mike Lee explored ideas to overturn 2020 presidential election,” based on what the writer called “newly revealed text messages between Sen. Mike Lee and then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows,” first published by CNN. Despite the piece’s promise to share textual evidence that would “reveal how Sen. Mike Lee explored ideas to overturn the 2020 presidential election” (emphasis added), the hit piece never comes close to fulfilling that promise.

Instead, what the hit piece appeared to do was promote the candidacies of the above three Utah opponents of Lee (Edwards, Isom, and McMullin). By the end, it was clear that they were included in the article mainly to give them all a boost. The article ends with McMullin smugly saying:

“Lee needs to come clean on his involvement. He has no place in the U.S. Senate…. A U.S. senator—especially one from Utah—should defend our Constitution and our freedoms, not use his position to sneakily pursue ways to destroy them.”

Thus was McMullin emphatically quoted by the Deseret News writer, who also quoted something similar by McMullin from the Oct. 17 media Q&A, cited at the top of Lie #1.

In the current climate in which the Democrat Left is determined more than ever to maintain its divisive grip on our nation through deception, lies, and fear-mongering, it's important to keep in mind that just one year after Jan 6, more than 40% in the U.S. did not believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, according to an Axios poll dated Jan. 5, 2022. Americans are not easily fooled. Among post-2020 revelations causing widespread election skepticism among Americans are Mark Zuckerberg’s more than $400-million expenditure to local election offices for the alleged purpose of helping Democrats win; Time Magazine’s shocking “secret history” of a broad "shadow campaign" to take down Trump; Dinesh D’Souza’s disturbing film “2000 Mules”; Maricopa County Arizona’s unreasonable refusal to allow forensic examination of its voting machines; Mike Lindell and Lara Logan’s stunning documentary “Selection Code”; troubling evidence the FBI interfered with reporting of Hunter Biden’s potentially election-changing laptop story; and a seemingly endless stream of other unsettling election-related stories and facts.

Had these factors been public knowledge at the time Mike Lee was exploring Republicans’ options for identifying hard evidence of election fraud or corruption with Mark Meadows, the media would have been hard pressed to claim Sen. Lee sought inordinately to “overturn” the election for personal reasons. His motivation for his communications with Meadows was to restore confidence in America’s elections—not to “destroy our democracy,” as McMullin and the Democratic media have outrageously claimed.

Lie #2: Lee dishonored his oath as a senator

In the informal media Q&A following the Oct. 17 Lee-McMullin debate, McMullin also claimed that the most important difference between himself and Mike Lee was that “when I swear an oath to the Constitution as a young CIA officer, I keep it. I put my life on the line more times than I can remember to fulfill my oath to defend the Constitution. Sen. Lee took a similar oath, or the same oath, to defend the Constitution when he became a senator and what did he do? He betrayed it. We’ve got to hold him accountable.”

McMullin was evidently responding to Lee’s falsely-reported efforts to “overturn” the election so Trump could stay in office. But we should note that McMullin failed to correctly quote the oath he had reference to (known as Standard Form 61).

McMullin told reporters the oath at issue required both himself and Lee to swear that they would “support and defend the Constitution” in their respective roles in government service—a paraphrase that would allow wide latitude of interpretation. Not so the actual oath itself, however, if properly quoted. It’s very specific. The oath clearly states that all federal employees promise to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”—something Mike Lee has conscientiously sought to do as a strong supporter of the Constitution (the strongest, by way of reputation, in the entire Senate).

McMullin, for his part—since he sides with Joe Biden and the Democrats on a wide range of initiatives and values—can justly be said to be on the wrong side of numerous issues that are tearing America apart (and for that alone can be said to be violating his oath). By all appearances, he sounds—and behaves—like countless foreign and domestic enemies of the Constitution, not a firm-minded defender against such very real threats. Not so Mike Lee. It’s clear where he stands on defending and supporting the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

But McMullin is right about one thing: Anyone who would attempt to steal or corrupt our elections should be viewed as violating the oath required of all federal employees. The Constitution of our democratic republic requires legitimate—not rigged or otherwise illegitimate—elections for its very survival. That’s why Mike Lee spent countless hours after the 2020 election trying to connect the dots evidently in order to understand, and prove, that the election was deceptively commandeered by clever enemies of our country—not to “overturn” the election to keep Trump in power, as claimed by McMullin—prompting Lee to demand an apology during their debate.

Lie #3: Lee is too conservative, and therefore too divisive

Take a moment to click on the above-linked reference to “conservative” and read historian Lee Edwards’ carefully-crafted definition of conservatism from an American (as opposed to a European or generic) perspective.

In principle, Edwards stresses that American conservatism is a philosophy centered in the existence of God; that all persons have the right to exercise their God-given free will without being subject to unjust control or restraint; that free will presupposes the need for fundamental economic freedom (property); that the purpose of government is to secure each individual’s God-given rights and freedoms; that the free market is the best vehicle for ensuring human rights, freedoms, and happiness, in a system of reasonable order; that the proper role of government is to ensure all of the above; that the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised by human beings for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from concentrating and abusing power; and so on—ideals that derive from biblical principles and premises, the God-inspired ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and an accurate understanding of human nature and divine purpose.

Notice how all of the above (and any derivative ideals) reflect the modern and historical premises of America (notwithstanding its early history that temporarily involved ungodly human slavery, which the Constitution—in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1arranged in advance of its ratification to abolish, a fact evidently unknown to most public-schooled Americans (see Jerry Newcombe here and here).

All of the above are conservative ideals, since they are all interwoven with scriptural truths. To be a “conservative” is to stand firmly on all of these ideals—or any one of them. The more of these ideals a person understands and stands upon, the more consistently that person will be seen to espouse conservatism.

Is it possible, therefore, to be too conservative? Not in the American sense of the term, since the American definition of a conservative is based on emulating divine premises and principles, and thus seeking to become more godly in our knowledge, judgment, and behavior. The problem in American politics is not conservative “extremism,” but conservative pretence—whereby some people feign conservatism in order to get elected, then turn out to be only pretending all along, since they aren’t conservative enough. All—or certainly enough—of us need to be strong, God-fearing conservatives if America is to survive in basic liberty. That would be the ideal, without fear of exceeding some arbitrary standard frowned upon by woke-Marxist “political correctness.”

Evan McMullin has portrayed Mike Lee as unbearably extreme in his conservatism. The problem, of course, is that Evan McMullin is unbearably shallow (and inauthentic) in his pretended “conservatism.” He’s not the real deal. He should be rejected loud and clear by the voters of the deeply conservative state of Utah, where correct principle still matters above “political correctness.”

We might point out that in the New Testament, Jesus condemned those persons who refused to stand courageously for what is right and true—who pretended to play both sides of critical issues of right or wrong. Jesus said of such people: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” So much for pragmatically trying to steer clear of unpredictable “divisiveness” as a coping mechanism in today’s superficially “woke” world.

To be an American conservative is to courageously stand for what is right and true as a matter of decency and duty. Interestingly, Heritage Action gives Mike Lee a lifetime conservative rating of 96%, with other current members of Congress generally receiving an 80% rating for their service.

By way of background, Mike Lee clerked for future U.S. Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito when Alito was a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mike’s father was Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General, Rex E. Lee, who argued before the Supreme Court 59 times; helped derail the cultural Marxist “Equal Rights Amendment” with his effective book “A Lawyer Looks at the Equal Rights Amendment”; and served as the 10th president of Brigham Young University from 1989 to 1995), having earlier served as the founding dean (in the early 1970s) of the university’s J.Reuben Clark Law School, where Mike later obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 1997.

Lie #4: Lee attacked Romney on cable TV for not endorsing him

During the media Q&A following the Oct. 17 debate between Lee and McMullin, McMullin told reporters that—

“I consider Sen. Romney a friend. I appreciate very much his principled service in the Senate and his leadership. I know that if I prevail, I will work very, very closely with Sen. Romney on most issues. One thing I will not do is go on cable news attacking Sen. Romney as our other U.S. senator. I think it’s shameful what I saw this week from Sen. Lee attacking our other senator. We need two senators who will work together to put the best interests of our state first to get things done for us, to deliver for us.”

The Deseret News article that cited the above quote from the Lee-McMullin media Q&A did not say exactly what occasion McMullin was referring to—but since the debate at issue fell on Monday, Oct. 17, McMullin likely had in mind Lee’s appearance on the Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 11. On that show, Sen. Lee behaved as a perfect gentleman and noticeably refrained from “attacking” Romney in any way. Lee was very courteous toward and respectful of him and merely asked for his endorsement. Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, was occasionally a little critical of Romney, particularly at the end, but he also noticeably refrained from attacking him or speaking harshly of him.

After their exchange, Sen. Lee put the central issues of his race into perspective with the following words—which should be read as an introduction, before the broadcast is viewed:

“The local media in Utah is complicit in this—they want Evan McMullin to win. For that very reason, they’re refusing to ask him policy questions; they allow him simply to engage in ad hominem attacks on me, notwithstanding the fact that the guy claims to be campaigning on this platform of civility, which is laughable, but they never make him answer any actual policy questions—so yeah, I think a lot of Utahns are being duped and fooled.”

With that as a clear background, Lee’s gentlemanly invitation to Romney to back him over McMullin—for reasons that are sensible in view of the current contest for control of the Senate this election, and the implications of that contest for our nation’s future, cannot be faulted in the least by a reasonable viewer.

You can view the entire Oct. 11 Tucker Carlson-Mike Lee exchange on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” here. It’s only 4:25 in length.

Lie #5: Lee and McMullin are virtually tied in polls of likely voters

Veteran Utah journalist LaVarr Webb, a former managing editor of the Deseret News and an aide to former Utah Republican governor Mike Leavitt, cautions that political polls during elections are generally unreliable. Webb's weekly Deseret News column—which he shares with former Utah Democrat House Minority Leader Frank Pignanelli—opened its Sept. 30 commentary by stating:

“The U.S. Senate race between Sen. Mike Lee and Evan McMullin is a rough-and-tumble slugfest….

“Both campaigns have revealed results of internal polling to show their candidate ahead. The Utah Debate Commission/Lighthouse Research survey showed Lee ahead 48%-37% with 5% undecided. Last week’s Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll added fuel to the fire, showing the race essentially tied (Lee 36%, McMullin 34%, 16% undecided). What does this polling puzzle say about the race?"

Webb responded: "…[I]t’s very difficult to predict voting outcomes because it’s hard to survey, in the correct demographic proportions, people who will actually vote.

“Polling in the last few elections has underestimated the strength of many Republican candidates.... Even The New York Times recently published a lengthy story by its political polling guru admitting that many polls don’t accurately reflect the turnout of conservative 'Trump voters.'

“Most pollsters try hard to be accurate. They’ve made adjustments to find more Trump voters. But it’s difficult to get conservative Republicans to participate in polling. We’re in a very divisive, skeptical time, and many conservatives don’t trust pollsters or the media. Most people only answer cellphones when the caller is known, and if they do answer and it’s a polling firm, most hang up. It’s also hard to get Trump voters to participate in online survey panels. When pollsters know a demographic group is underrepresented, they “weight” the results to make up for it. But accuracy remains difficult.

“All of this leads me to believe that Republicans, including Lee, will do at least a little better than is indicated by polling. Certainly, if a Republican is 20 points behind, he or she is going to lose. But if the race is close, it might make sense to give the Republican candidate a couple extra percentage points.

"Will I be right? We’ll see….”

The latest Emerson Poll (dated Oct. 31) has Sen. Lee leading McMullin by 10 points. Based on what LaVarr Webb says above, it looks like Lee is going to defeat McMullin soundly—but only if those who support him take time to vote. The polling and negative ads by McMullin and the PACs supporting him are designed to suppress Lee supporters from following through and voting for him. So—stand firm for conservatism, don’t be fooled by McMullin’s attack ads, and VOTE FOR MIKE LEE NOV. 8!

Lie #6: Lee is a lock-step yes man to Donald Trump and will promote Trumpism if re-elected to the Senate

“America First” is itself a wise conservative policy intended to keep America safe and strong by rejecting cultural (or “woke”) Marxism. To appreciate the good and decent things Donald Trump has done for America, watch the video “Trump’s Virtues”—an outstanding speech by Claremont Institute Chairman Tom Klingenstein given July 16 (18 min.).

As far as the notion that Mike Lee is a go-fer for Trump, he himself makes it clear that he has often broken ranks with the 45th president, especially on spending issues. Mike is his own man, and he genuinely has Utah’s—and America’s—needs at heart as a conservative senator.

A final thought taken from LaVarr Webb’s Sept. 30 column:

In his Sept. 30 column, veteran journalist and political consultant LaVarr Webb succinctly summed up what Utah voters need to consider in the Lee-McMullin race, in these sensible words—

“I would ignore the attack ads and vote on the basics of this race: Lee is a conservative Republican who votes accordingly and who has been a reliable Trump supporter. What you see is what you get. McMullin is an independent who is strongly supported by Democrats and who has made a career of attacking Trump and those who support him. On key issues, he is more likely to vote with Democrats than with Republicans and his election could ensure Democratic control of the Senate.”

(For a detailed endorsement of Mike Lee's service in the Senate from someone who knows him well, see the outstanding "Opinion: Why I'm supporting Mike Lee," by former National Security Adviser Robert C. O'Brien, published in the Deseret News Oct. 20.)

A personal note:

Mike Lee is a strong advocate for Utah families. He told me when I first met him at a rally on the steps of the Utah Capitol in 2010—after I introduced myself as a long-time associate of former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes—that he personally jumped to his feet at the end of Alan Keyes’ rousing speech at the 2004 Utah Republican Convention in defense of traditional marriage (a speech the state media reported “stole the convention”), and joined delegates in giving Keyes a prolonged standing ovation. Lee said the moving speech (which our family arranged in behalf of governor candidate Parley Hellewell) was a vivid memory of his.

Notably, days after the speech, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts imposed same-sex marriage by executive order on an American state for the first time in U.S. history, incorrectly claiming he “had no choice,” even though the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made no requirement of him in its marriage ruling (which focused solely on the Legislature). Despite what McMullin says about the advantages of doubling Mitt’s “independent” representation in the U.S. Senate by choosing McMullin over Lee, Utah doesn’t need two non-conservative "Mitts" in Washington with poor judgment.

Please share this article widely with everyone you know
who has Utah connections.

© Stephen Stone

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Stephen Stone

Stephen Stone is the President and Editor of RenewAmerica – a conservative media site dedicated to restoring respect for America's founding principles.

This purpose includes not only respect for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as written, but for the Creator and His laws.

From the time he was a teenager, Stephen has considered himself a born-again Christian, in the biblical tradition. Since then, he has devoted his life to pursuing life's questions and challenges through seeking to know the mind and will of God, and through seeking the sanctifying influence of His Spirit.

As a result, Steve has become somewhat of a religious philosopher – one committed to approaching the truth of any subject by the clear standards of God's Word.

His religious testimony can be found in "What does it mean to be converted to Jesus Christ," a position statement he wrote in 2013 for RenewAmerica.


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