The Trump campaign threatened to sue television stations over an ad highlighting his statements about the coronavirus outbreak.
Donald Trump's reelection campaign threatened to sue television stations if they air a 30-second ad critical of Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hill reported on Wednesday.
The ad, produced by super PAC Priorities USA, shows how coronavirus infections increased over time in the United States while playing statements from Trump downplaying the seriousness of the outbreak.
"We have it totally under control," Trump says as the graph shows an exponentially increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
At the end of the ad Trump says, "No, I don't take any responsibility at all."
According to the Hill, Priorities USA has put $6 million behind the ad, which is airing in five battleground states: Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Lawyers for the Trump campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to television stations in those states, claiming the ad contains "false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President Trump's healthcare positions."
Priorities USA strategist Josh Schwerin told the Hill that the threat of a lawsuit over the ad was a "stunt" by the Trump campaign.
"We stand by the facts in the ad and will continue to make sure that Donald Trump is held accountable for his words and actions that are making this crisis even worse," Schwerin said.
On Thursday, Priorities USA announced it would also air the ad in Arizona, saying the Trump campaign's "intimidation effort failed and the ad is continuing to air across Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin."
Trump's slow and dismissive response to the coronavirus outbreak has been a source of regular criticism. During February and early March, Trump regularly lied about the outbreak and made promises that the epidemic would magically disappear.
On March 10, Trump said the coronavirus outbreak "will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away."
As of Thursday, there are at least 75,178 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the New York Times, and at least 1,069 people have died.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.