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Trump camp threatens local TV stations over Democratic ad

UPDATED: Thu., March 26, 2020

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP)
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP)
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is threatening legal action against local TV stations in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin if they don’t pull a Democratic anti-Trump commercial that uses clips of the president talking about the coronavirus outbreak. The campaign says the ad is false.

Priorities USA Action Fund, the Democratic super political action committee that created the 30-second spot and supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, responded by soliciting financial contributions to keep the ad on the airwaves.

Trump’s campaign said the commercial contains the “false assertion” that Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax.”

The ad strings together audio of recent comments by Trump in which he attempts to minimize the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, including a snippet in which he says, “This is their new hoax.”

Trump’s campaign said Wednesday that it had delivered “cease and desist” letters to the stations demanding that they pull the ad or face legal action. The stations were not named in a news release announcing the action or in a copy of the letter accessed by a hyperlink included in the emailed release.

Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, tweeted Wednesday that Trump wants to block the ad “because he doesn’t want Americans to know the truth.” He included a link for donations to pay to keep the ad on the air.

Priorities USA said Thursday that the ad will begin airing in Arizona.

Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are among the states where Trump is spending heavily in his bid to win a second term.

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