The anti-Trump Republican group, The Lincoln Project, is planning to air a new attack ad blasting President Donald Trump’s record on race relations in the US.
The TV spot, backed by a $500,000 ad buy, will air in the key battleground states of Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as in Washington, DC. The ad, entitled “Flag of Treason,” targets the support Trump has received from white nationalist groups.
One of the group’s previous ads delivered a blistering critique of Trump’s record on the coronavirus pandemic, playing off of Ronald Reagan’s iconic 1984 “Morning in America” reelection spot. The “Mourning in America” ad went viral, giving The Lincoln Project an infusion of funds.
The Lincoln Project is led by a high-profile team of anti-Trump Republicans, including John Weaver, Rick Wilson, Reed Galen and George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. Former Mitt Romney strategist Stuart Stevens recently joined the group.
Their goal is for Trump to lose reelection – last month the group ran an ad endorsing Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee – but getting under Trump’s skin is an added benefit for the group.
Each of the Lincoln Project principles aligned themselves with the “NeverTrump” movement in the 2016 election and have been outspoken critics of Trump and the Republican Party ever since.
Trump and his allies have accused the Lincoln Project of being a “scam PAC” to draw attention to the principles’ business connections, although the President’s own operations are not immune from similar criticism.
CNN has previously reported that the pro-Trump super PAC America First has paid thousands of dollars for services to companies owned by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Created late last year, the Lincoln Project raised just more than $2.5 million through the end of March, spending about $1.2 million of that through the same period.
According to FEC filings, the bulk of that – nearly $780,000 – has gone to a media-consulting company owned by Galen called Summit Strategic Communications, which produces the Lincoln Project’s ads and provides other services.
The group, which quickly raised more than $1.4 million in a matter of days last month after Trump singled it out for criticism, has seen its fundraising continue to climb, Jennifer Horn, a Republican strategist and adviser to the group told CNN on Monday. She said she did not immediately have the latest fundraising totals.
But Horn said voters will see more ads from the group. “We have barely begun,” she said. “We are going to be relentless in our pursuit of defeat for Donald Trump.”
The Lincoln Project also has taken aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election this year. The group last week targeted the Kentucky Republican with a 60-second ad that dubs McConnell “Rich Mitch” and accuses him of enriching himself during his tenure in Washington.
Horn said the Lincoln Project went after McConnell because he has “enabled” Trump. “The only way to save America and to save the Republic … is to defeat Trumpism,” she said. “Every person who has allowed the destructive nature of the Trump presidency to flourish also has got to go.”
McConnell’s campaign has dismissed the ad as coming from a “scam PAC of grifters” who would soon be forgotten.
This story has been updated with additional information about the Lincoln Project.
CNN’s Michael Warren, Ryan Nobles and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.