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Donald Trump’s Campaign Threatens to Sue Over Ad That Quotes … Donald Trump

they can't handle the truth


Trump yells from the stage at a rally.

Priorities USA, a Democratic-supporting Super PAC, released a new ad this week attacking Donald Trump and his massive failure in responding to the coronavirus. It’s a pretty straightforward ad in that all it does is use Donald Trump’s own damning words. The Trump campaign, however, isn’t too thrilled with the ad and has sent a cease and desist to several stations in key states airing the ad.

According to The Hill, the Trump campaign is going after television stations for airing the ad, which correctly points out that the President called the coronavirus a “hoax.” The campaign claims it’s false and misleading because what he really did was call the Democrats’ criticism of his handling of the virus a hoax.

Their threat to the stations reads thusly: “should you fail to immediately cease broadcasting PUSA’s ad ‘Exponential Threat’, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. will have no choice but to pursue all legal remedies available to it in law and in equity … We will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President’s [sic] Trump’s healthcare positions without consequence.”

This is all bluster, as the ad does simply use Trump’s own words. The full quote that’s the source of the “hoax” soundbite is still terrible, even with context. “We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. … And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing.”

And the hoax remark is paired with many other Trump soundbites that are equally damning because they reflect the truth that Donald Trump lied to the American people and downplayed the coronavirus threat until it was too late.

Joe Biden has used the same quote in a new ad that’s out from his campaign as well.

Threatening to sue over an ad that quotes the president is a bad look, though not surprising from a man who has made the entire news media and truth itself his enemy. It’s not clear yet if the stations that received the letter will be intimidated or if they, and Priorities USA, will stand up for their free speech rights. But this threat has brought more attention to the ad than before, which isn’t good for Trump.

But what is clear is that Trump is sensitive and angry about how his failures with regard to the coronavirus are already being used against him politically. He can no longer brag of a booming economy under his leadership, and that’s thanks almost entirely to his huge failure when it comes to this pandemic. The truth, as it often does, hurts.

(Via: MSNBC, Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.