The lies 'bring the country into further turmoil about the legitimacy of the presidency,' according to one expert.
Donald Trump's reelection campaign is now using his incendiary message that Democrats are engaged in a "coup" against him. Trump himself began using the word after right-wing media outlets picked up the faulty terminology.
"It's nothing short of a coup, and it must be stopped," the narrator says in the ad, the message displayed in text over video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, both Democrats.
"Democrats are trying to undo the election, regardless of the facts," the ad baselessly claims. The narrator also says the party is "fabricating evidence" against Trump, which has not happened.
An impeachment inquiry is not a "coup," which is an extrajudicial removal of a government — often by force. Impeachment is laid out in Article II of the U.S. Constitution as a legal means through which a government official like Trump can "removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
"To call an impeachment process an attempted coup is dangerous because it aligns with those who believe in 'deep state' conspiracies," Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard, told the New York Times.
Donovan noted that the "deep state" conspiracy theories — which Trump and his supporters have pushed for years — are "functioning as disinformation that bring the country into further turmoil about the legitimacy of the presidency."
The ad cites conservative commentator Mark Levin to bolster its claim that Trump did nothing wrong in his phone call with Ukraine, despite Trump asking the Ukranian president for a "favor."
The "favor" was a request that Ukraine dig up dirt on Vice President Joe Biden while the United States was withholding aid Ukraine needed to fight Russia.
Jennifer Grygiel, a professor at Syracuse University who studies social media, told the New York Times that the new ad is "a sign that the president is ramping up his propaganda efforts, and that it has entered a new phase."
"Coup" and similarly heated rhetoric has in the past been cited by fringe groups and individuals on the right. Now that same message, which was once confined to domestic terrorists, is being amplified from the Oval Office.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.