SALT LAKE CITY — President-elect Donald Trump went off on independent candidate and Utah native Evan McMullin without mentioning his name during the first stop on his "thank you" victory tour in Ohio.
"Remember when they said, 'Donald Trump is gonna lose' to some guy I had never even heard of? Who is that guy? 'He is going to lose to this guy!'" Trump told a crowd in Cincinnati on Thursday during a rant about the "dishonest press."
"But the people of Utah were amazing and we trounced them. We trounced. And by the way, Hillary came in second and that guy came in third. I was still trying to figure it out. I’m still trying to figure out what was he going to prove?"
Trump won Utah with 45.5 percent of the vote, while Democrat Hillary Clinton finished with 27.5 percent and McMullin 21.5 percent. Trump's winning percentage in Utah was the lowest among the states he carried.
"Being 'that guy' is an honor," McMullin posted Thursday on Twitter.
McMullin, a former CIA operative and BYU graduate, continued a barrage of tweets aimed at Trump on Friday, saying, "You're willing to attack me and others, but still afraid to say my name?"
"You won political legitimacy, but nothing can legitimize your bigotry, authoritarianism and corruption," McMullin tweeted.
A never-Trump candidate who entered the race in August, McMullin touted himself as a conservative alternative. He surged in the polls in Utah in late October, even overtaking Trump in at least one survey. But whatever momentum McMullin had faded on Election Day.
During the campaign, Trump acknowledged he had a problem in Utah. He lashed out at McMullin, calling him "a puppet" who could cost Republicans the election and give liberals the Supreme Court for the next 60 years if he won Utah.
"What the hell was he trying to prove?" Trump said in his speech Thursday. "I guess he wanted us to lose the Supreme Court. That’s about the only thing he was going to get."
Trump also said at the Ohio rally that as a Republican, he was supposed to "win the great state of Utah. I love Utah."
Trump's "thank you" tour will come through Utah, state GOP Chairman James Evans said this week. Evans said he did not yet have a date for the event and could not say whether Trump himself would make an appearance.
Trump made a campaign speech in Salt Lake City in March. Vice President-elect Mike Pence visited Utah twice before the election.