Evan McMullin answered students’ questions in a Q&A session in the Jesse Knight Building on Tuesday, March 28.
Click each question below to read McMullin’s response.
McMullin said students who are interested in working for intelligence or counterterrorism groups are at the right place, because many agencies recruit from BYU. He advised such students to earn the best grades they could and study languages.
“Language study is absolutely critical,” McMullin said. “Study languages that are difficult and critical in our national security and foreign affairs activities.”
Having the experience of living abroad as a student or a professional is also essential, McMullin said.
“Not just a month here and a month there, but go live somewhere for six months,” McMullin said. “Live and work as a professional for a year or two, perfecting your language skills, learning how a country works, making contacts, that sort of thing.”
Students should also read as many books as they can about the industry, “choose the right” and enroll in business classes in order to pass an intense background and interview process, McMullin said.
He said he misjudged the value of studying business when he was a BYU international studies student.
“I regret that,” McMullin said. “I should have. Later on in my career, my thinking on that would totally change.”
McMullin encouraged students of all majors to get at least a basic understanding of business and mathematics.
“I would make sure that you don’t do what I did as an undergrad, which is avoid quantitative topics,” McMullin said. “These are important skills no matter what you do.”
McMullin said he considers himself a constitutional conservative, believing the fundamental ideals and principles of the constitution are worth protecting and conserving.
“I’m talking about the radical idea that all men and women are created equal and the radical idea that we are all inherently free,” McMullin said. “We as humans all possess free will, and therefore, we should have self-rule. I believe that as much government power as possible should be centered as close to us as possible at a state and local level.”
Even though he considers himself a conservative now, he said the meaning of the word may change.
“It may be uncomfortable to say and acknowledge that, but there are many people who are claiming to be conservatives, but they don’t represent the things that I would call conservatism,” McMullin said.
Instead, McMullin said people should forget titles and labels, and identify themselves by what they believe in.
“Stand with your principles and let the labels come and go, because they will come and go,” McMullin said. “We are in a position in our country now where the traditional political spectrum is evolving.”
McMullin said liberty and equality are interconnected.
“You can’t have one without the other,” McMullin said. “If you believe that we are equal, then it follows you believe that no one should be able to subjugate the other — which means representative government, which means self-rule, which means government power is on loan from the people.”
McMullin said he wasn’t at all surprised to hear from a prominent speaker that the alt-right don’t buy into “the whole liberty thing” after hearing they don’t believe in equality.
“Not believing that we are all equal is consistent with also believing that we are not all free,” McMullin said. “If you believe that government should be accountable to you, then the basis for that ultimately is that you believe that you are inherently free.”
McMullin said the main reason he ran for the presidency was to stand up for liberty and equality and to represent honesty and truth.
“Somebody had to stand for these ideals,” McMullin said.
He said he was not ashamed to admit the second reason was to block Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from the presidency. McMullin said he has been consistent about warning people about Trump since the beginning.
“There’s a reason why a guy like me decided to throw his hat into the ring, and it’s not because I thought it was going to be fun,” McMullin said. “It is because I honestly believe — and still do — that Donald Trump represents a danger to the country, and I make no apologies for that.”
McMullin said he will be surprised if nothing is found in the investigation, but is open to Trump being cleared if supported by evidence.
“It will give the president a ton of legitimacy, which will help him run in a positive way,” McMullin said. “That’s the best outcome we can hope for.”
McMullin said students calling their representatives in congress every week is the single most effective thing they can do — above paying attention to the news, attending town hall meetings and sharing content online.
“They will summarize what they have heard from the people, and that will have an impact on what they decide to do or not do,” McMullin said.
Lastly, McMullin said Americans need to be careful about how they talk about people with opposing views in a country so divided. He said he risked his life abroad to protect all Americans, not just the ones he agrees with.
“Don’t let people on your side of the political aisle tell you that the other side is the enemy,” McMullin said. “If you hear that from somebody, reject it.”