Utah senator candidate Evan McMullin accused Sen. Mike Lee of not “standing up” for the constitution during Monday night’s debate after Lee pulled a pocket-sized US gun out of his jacket onstage.
Lee, a Republican, held up a copy of the Constitution as he debated the January 6, 2021 US Capitol siege with McMullin, an independent. Lee had advocated for then-President Donald Trump to challenge the 2020 presidential election in court in the weeks following the election, according to text messages released by the House Inquiry Committee.
The text threads also recorded Lee warning then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about an alleged plot to send alternate electors to Capitol Hill to challenge President Joe Biden’s Jan. 6 certification.
On Monday, Lee said he had never supported a conspiracy by “wrong voters” and said there was not “a spark of evidence” to support the claim. Lee also said that while there were people who behaved “very badly” on January 6, he “wasn’t one of them.”
“I was one of those who tried to fix this situation, tried to prevent it because I believe in this document,” Lee added, pulling the copy of the constitution out of his pocket.
McMullin replied to Lee that the Constitution was “not a prop”.
“It’s not a prop to wave around and then when it’s convenient to your quest for power without giving up a thought,” McMullin said.
“If you are committed to the Constitution, then stand up for our free and fair elections,” McMullin added.
The exchange was later posted on Twitter by CSPAN.
During the debate, Lee acknowledged that President Biden won the 2020 election “fairly,” but added that “there’s always room for debate” about whether some states conducted their elections “better” than others.
Lee voted to confirm the 2020 election on Jan. 6, but McMullin noted during the debate that Lee was one of the last to do so, likening it to “how someone knows a conspiracy that doesn’t quite work.”
Monday’s debate was the first and only between the two Utah Senate candidates ahead of the midterm elections in several weeks. According to FiveThirtyEight, Lee is “clearly favored” to retain his seat next month, which is expected to beat McMullin 94 out of 100.
The crowd also favored Lee during Monday’s debate, at one point booing McMullin for alleging that Lee was “seeking fake voters to overthrow the will of the people” on Jan. 6. McMullin added that this was the “most egregious betrayal” by a senator in US history.
The moment was later posted by Rathaus.com on Twitter, and boos were cut short by the moderator of the debate.
In response to McMullin’s claim, Lee said, “You, sir, owe me an apology.”
news week has reached out to both campaigns for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/evan-mcmullin-pushes-mike-lee-jan-6-blasts-his-prop-constitution-1752606 Evan McMullin urges Mike Lee on Jan. 6, blows up his ‘prop’ constitution