Jan. 6 clouds Utah debate, McMullin slams Lee for 'most egregious betrayal... in history'
Lee vehemently responded that he did not support such an effort and contended that "for you to suggest otherwise, flies right in the face of truth."
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and independent candidate Evan McMullin faced off on Monday in the state's senatorial debate.
McMullin, who previously launched an independent bid for the presidency in 2016, has received the endorsement of the Utah Democratic Party.
Much of the early debate focused on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, with moderators asking Lee if President Joe Biden "fairly" won the contest.
Lee highlighted that Biden was constitutionally the leader of the country. "Ultimately, what matters is the Electoral College and the Electoral College won," Lee said.
McMullin took a fiery tone against Lee, accusing him of encouraging a fake elector scheme to overturn the results of the election.
"That was the most egregious betrayal of our nation's Constitution in its history by a U.S. senator, I believe, and it will be your legacy," he said, prompting a chorus of boos. The moderator, who had already warned the audience against interjecting, sternly rebuked the viewers.
He then asked how each candidate would characterize the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
"It was a violent insurrection with the intention of overturning the American Republic," McMullin insisted, before again attempting to tie Lee to a scheme to submit an illegitimate slate of electors for Utah.
Lee vehemently responded that he did not support such an effort and contended that "for you to suggest otherwise, flies right in the face of truth." During that exchange, Lee showed his pocket Constitution, prompting McMullin to contend that "the Constitution is not a prop."
McMullin admonished Lee's repeated use of the document for alleged political gain, which in turn prompted Lee to contend that he refers to it daily and that it served as a "reference guide" for his policies.
The pair traded barbs on a range of issues, including immigration, foreign affairs, student loan cancellation and others. McMullin closed the night with an appeal for voters to reject the dominance of the two main parties and to chart a different course forward. Lee, on the other hand, presented himself as a stable, conservative choice who advocated for policies the majority of Utah voters support.