SALT LAKE –Utah Republican Party Chair James Evans is under fire after a testy exchange on CNN Thursday morning where he challenged the cable network to investigate a story about Bill Clinton’s illegitimate son.
CNN’s Carol Costello invited Evans and Utah Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon on her show to talk about Donald Trump’s plunging poll numbers in deep red Utah amid new allegations of sexual harassment. The conversation went off course when Evans dropped an allegation of his own.
Evans: “I'm looking forward to the interview you're gonna have with Bill Clinton's illegitimate son and ask Hillary Clinton if she's willing to accept him.”
Costello: “No, no, no, no, no: Come on, oh please, that's, that's just rubbish. He does not have an illegitimate son. You have no proof of that. You were just talking about people being salacious...”
Costello shot down Evan’s claims about Bill Clinton fathering a son with a prostitute.
Evans: “How do you know this?! Have him on the air.”
Costello: “And you drop that one on national television? Oh, Come on!”
Evans: “Because I'm making the point, because I'm making the point, you're willing to defend Hillary Clinton against that allegation but...”
Costello: “I gotta go...”
Evans: “Yet you're accepting the allegations of these women.”
Costello: “James Evans, Peter Corroon, thank you so much for joining me, I'll be right back.”
The interview was cut short, but Evans continued to vent his frustrations, claiming the media uses a double standard for Trump.
“If it were reversed and this were a Republican, it would be front page news stories and that was the point I was trying to make,” Evans said.
Corroon chastised Evans for using a national platform to downplay the Clinton campaign.
“We're on national television, and we have our Republican chair somewhat embarrassing the state of Utah coming up with these wild stories that you only find in the deepest parts of the internet,” Corroon said.
The story about Bill Clinton allegedly fathering a child with a prostitute was initially reported in the '90s by the Daily Mail, and according to a recent Snopes.com article a paternity test was eventually commissioned and the results were negative.
When asked if Utahns deserved an apology, Evans acknowledged his misstep.
“We want to represent Utah in the best possible light," he said. "I admit, that was not the best possible light. We're in the middle of a heated campaign, and so I ask Utah voters to give me a little bit of space, a little bit of forgiveness on that.”
Later Thursday, the Alliance for a Better Utah called on Evans to resign, saying the claims made by Evans were "thoroughly debunked many years ago by multiple publications."
Executive Director Rachel Sanders stated they were starting an online petition to call for Evans to resign.
"We expect more of our politicians, especially leaders of our major political parties. In addition to nearly financially bankrupting his party, James Evans’ continued support for Donald Trump, as well as his outlandish comments on CNN, shows he is morally bankrupting the Utah GOP as well. Evans’ constant attempts to spread rumors and lies, including ones that have been thoroughly proven wrong, are inappropriate of his position. Because of our tremendous respect for the multi-party political system, we call on leaders and members of the Utah GOP to demand James Evans resign from office so decorum and respect can return to Utah politics and the rest of this election season.”