President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign slammed an attack ad by Priorities USA, the super PAC backed by George Soros, which criticizes Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by using deceptively edited quotes from briefings and the news media.
The ad, “Front Lines,” attempts to blame President Trump for shortages of medical equipment, such as masks and ventilators. (In fact, despite early concerns, there has been no nationwide shortage, and the U.S. is projected to have an oversupply of some key equipment.)
The ad begins by showing Trump saying, “[T]hrowing away of the mask right away — they’re thrown away, and I keep saying, ‘How is it possible to use so much?'”
The ad splices two separate comments from one briefing (March 21) to suggest a callous disregard for equipment needs.
In fact, as a transcript of the briefing shows, Trump was discussing the need for new technology to sanitize masks — not minimizing the need for masks at all.
The ad also refers to a Washington Post article from several days later (March 29) about a different subject — namely, the question of whether medical equipment was being stolen in New York, an accusation Gov. Andrew Cuomo also made.
The ad cites the Post article in a misleading fashion to reinforce the false claim that Trump did not care about the need for masks in hospitals.
The ad also uses a quote in which Trump says, “I don’t believe [New York will] need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators” and contrasts it with claims by a doctor that her hospital was desperate for more ventilators.
In fact, as the president and his task force have noted for days, they were able to make sure that no American who needed a ventilator has had to do without one throughout the entire crisis. The early requests for tens of thousands of ventilators in New York were, in fact, overzealous.
At least two, and perhaps all three, of the medical personnel featured in the ad appear to be contributors to Democratic Party politicians, according to the FEC website.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, the Trump campaign accused the Soros-backed super PAC, which is backing Joe Biden in the 2020 election, of “using more deceptive editing and misleading presentation to attack President Trump’s successful handling of the global coronavirus pandemic.”
Social media companies have begun rejecting political ads based on what they deem to be deceptive or misleading content; it is not yet clear whether the Priorities USA will be rejected by any platform.
According to ABC News, the ad began running in key 2020 battleground states on Tuesday.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.