With the inauguration of 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump last Friday and the revelation that former Vice President Joe Biden will soon be coming to campus, Penn and its alumni were thrust into the national political spotlight.
However, another Penn alumus who ran for president this cycle is often overlooked — except maybe in Utah.
Evan McMullin, 2011 Wharton graduate, ran for president as a “never Trump” independent on a platform of “principled, conservative leadership.” He fared well in his home state of Utah, where he clinched 21 percent of the popular vote, according to CNN.
On the ballot in 11 states and a write-in candidate in 31 others, McMullin ended up with 725,902 votes nationwide, many from voters who share his Mormon faith.
But what was McMullin like during his career at Penn?
The Daily Pennsylvanian reached out to a former classmate of McMullin to find out.
“Evan’s a great guy,” Tony Altimore, a fellow 2011 Wharton graduate said. “He has a steady, sharp and intelligent way of looking at things.”
Altimore, a consultant in New York, was in the same cohort as McMullin during their time at the Wharton School: Cohort H.
“It was hysterical to see him on CNN and all the news networks, because there’s your friend running for president,” Altimore said, adding “and [he’s] much smarter than the gentleman” now in office.
Satirically referring to Trump as “that other esteemed Wharton alum that we would trade for Evan McMullin in a heartbeat,” Altimore said. “Evan is a far better presidential candidate than anybody in the Republican Party.”
Altimore didn’t mince words with how he felt about Trump’s rise to power.
“The outcome is terrifying,” McMullin’s friend said of Trump’s election.
“LGBT rights are going to be slaughtered under some very minor, nuanced rule changes that we will see in the new Departments of Justice and Education,”
“They froze all EPA grants, unilaterally, and millions of people are at risk of losing their health coverage,” he added. “And the saddest thing is, they’re too dumb to even realize that they voted for this.”
Altimore isn’t alone in his ire for Trump. His friend and presidential candidate published a scathing op-ed in The New York Times in December, called “Trump’s Threat to the Constitution.” In it, McMullin also condemns the newly sworn-in president on issues from protectionism to press relations. sworn-in president on issues from protectionism to press relations.
“I worked for the government under President Bush and certainly didn’t agree with a lot of his policies, but you knew the adults were in charge,” he said. “Now, the children are at the helm.”
However, his faith in his friend and former Wharton classmate hasn’t wavered.
“I think everybody in Cohort H, be they Republican or Democrat, was excited to have Evan in this mix,” Altimore said.
Although more progressive, Altimore continued to praise his conservative cohort colleague.
“He’d be a phenomenal governor of Utah,” he said. “He’d be better than any cabinet secretary I’ve seen appointed yet. Evan McMullin is the type of person we need in government, no matter which party.”
Evan and Tony still keep in touch through Cohort H email chains, where the group often sends pictures of McMullin on TV accompanied by good wishes, Altimore shared.
“Hopefully we can get more Evans in the Republican Party,” he concluded, “and do some great things for the country.”
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