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. 

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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