CEEC members discussing policy. Clockwise from left: Ukraine representative Michael Sawkiw; JBANC intern Alex Blums; Karin Shuey, EANC; Latvian rep Ausma Tomsevics; JBANC Director Karl Altau; candidate Evan McMullin; McMullin advisor David Adesnik. Photo courtesy of CEEC
Estonian American National Council representatives joined Central and East European colleagues for a meeting with Independent candidate Evan McMullin on Wednesday, September 7th. This was the second in a series of meetings the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) has been pursuing with the campaigns of presidential candidates from all parties. We met with Clinton campaign advisor Madeleine Albright in June and have made contact with officials from Donald Trump’s staff.
McMullin announced his candidacy in early August. He is now on the ballot in ten states and is a registered write-in in ten more. He plans to be in one category or the other in nearly every state by election day. His background includes work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the Central Intelligence Agency and Goldman Sachs. Most recently, he spent two years on Capitol Hill as a senior adviser on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference. He resigned from this position shortly before entering the presidential race.
Much of our conversation centered around Russian aggression and U.S. leadership. McMullin expressed strong support for maintaining relationships with European allies and robust U.S. leadership in the region and globally. He shared his concern for Russia’s destabilizing behavior in Ukraine and beyond, stating that U.S. weakness has invited Russian aggression into Europe and the U.S. He is in favor of stronger sanctions on Russia and setting Georgia and Ukraine on the path to NATO membership. Calling Russia the most serious adversary to global security, McMullin sees a need for better communication to the public of the threat that Russia poses and considers Central and Eastern European-American communities as valuable voices for sharing this message.
McMullin criticized the U.S. for pulling back from its leadership role. Our willingness to cooperate with leaders who violate our values has compromised our standing. He called for a renewed demonstration of U.S. strengths by propagating abroad our commitment to freedom, human rights and free press.
McMullin also expressed support for positive immigration reform, strengthening trade agreements, and helping Europe diversify its energy supplies. He believes partnerships develop and strengthen through large trading networks, efficiently generating wealth for all parties.
At the end of the meeting, McMullin informed us he was working on a foreign policy speech that he would deliver soon. Topics would include his priorities for the Central and East European region and emphasizing as imperative the value of U.S. leadership.
Washington, DC Director
Estonian American National Council