Never Trumpers Release Ad Comparing Trump to the Coronavirus

“There’s a virus in the world.”

Win McNamee/Getty

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On Wednesday, a group of Never Trumpers is set to release an ad that compares Donald Trump to the coronavirus.

The Lincoln Project, a band of past and present Republicans who fervently oppose Trump (including George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Rick Wilson), produced the spot, which shows a series of photos related to the coronavirus: empty streets, a medical lab, a hospital hallway. A narrator intones, “There’s a virus in the world. For some people, the virus is easy to see. Others don’t see it all. Some say the virus isn’t that bad. Others say it’s malicious and dangerous. Since there are those who still can’t see it. Wouldn’t it be smart to tell the truth about the virus?”

The ad—bam!—then lands on a photo of Trump, and the narrator concludes, “Since there is a virus.”

This hit on Trump and his failure to tell the truth about the coronavirus is based on a classic political ad the Ronald Reagan campaign aired in 1984 called “The Bear.” It was a Cold War shot at liberals and Democrats who didn’t accept the hardline view that the Soviet Union was an immediate threat to the United States and Washington had to dramatically increase the military budget. 

Historians can argue whether the “Bear” ad was on the mark or not. (The Soviet Union started collapsing a few years later.) But at the time the spot was considered wily and effective.

This time around, there is no question about the danger at hand—and that the threat has been compounded by weeks of Trump’s inaction, incompetence, and false or misleading statements. In essence, the Lincoln Project is saying that the United States has been infected by not one but two viruses. And it’s a lethal combination. 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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