The Slatest

Trump Backer’s Apology for Homophobic Ads Degenerates Quickly Into Complaint About White Birth Rate

Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin was the subject of William Johnson’s robocall.

George Frey/Getty Images

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Prominent white nationalist and high-profile Trump supporter William Johnson made the news this week for recording and paying to distribute a homophobic robocall that he said was scheduled to reach 193,623 Utah landlines. The call was an attack on Evan McMullin, the independent candidate whose appeal to disaffected Republicans in Utah may cost Donald Trump the traditionally red state:

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Evan has two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is okay with that. Indeed, Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

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

(McMullin’s mother is married to a woman. McMullin says he “believe[s] in the sanctity of traditional marriage” but remains close to her. He identifies as straight.)

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After a significant backlash, Johnson said Wednesday that he is sorry about distributing the message …  sort of. Via the Salt Lake Tribune*:

“I am sorry for the mean-spirited message and I humbly retract its contents,” William Johnson, of California, said in a statement to reporters. “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 Evan McMullin typified that perfidious mentality.”

“I humbly retract my homophobia. However, racism.”

*Correction, Nov. 2, 2016: This post originally misspelled the name of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.

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