The anti-Donald Trump Republican group snapped back with a statement that it plans to make its response ― a “civics lesson” on First Amendment rights ― as “painful as possible.”
The Lincoln Project’s giant ads feature Trump’s daughter and son-in-law smiling next to a tally of U.S. deaths from COVID-19.
Attorney Marc Kasowitz blasted the ads in a letter Friday to The Lincoln Project as “false, malicious and defamatory” — as well as “outrageous and shameful libel.”
The letter notes that the ads show “Ms. Trump smiling and gesturing toward a death count of Americans” and “attribute to Mr. Kushner the statement” that New Yorkers are going to “suffer and that’s their problem.”
Kasowitz added: “Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement, Ms. Trump never made any such gesture.”
“If these billboard ads are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages,” Kasowitz concluded.
Ivanka Trump’s gesture appears to be taken from a photo she posted in July on Twitter holding a can of Goya beans after the company’s CEO praised her dad. She appears to be wearing the same white dress in the ad. The can has been edited out of the Times Square image.
"She never made that gesture" pic.twitter.com/l49iEgzIB9
— 🌋 Kill-ohana 👻 🔪🩸 (@KilohanaKona) October 24, 2020
Vanity Fair, citing an unidentified source, reported in September that Kushner had complained New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) didn’t plead hard enough with the White House to get coronavirus protective gear for his state. “His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem,” Kushner is quoted as saying.
Neither Trump nor Kushner could immediately be reached for comment.
The Lincoln Project posted a copy of Kasowitz’s letter Friday evening with the comment: “Nuts!”
It quickly slammed back with a statement that the “level of indignant outrage Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have shown towards The Lincoln Project for exposing their indifference for the more than 223,000 people who have lost their lives ... is comical.”
It added that “their empty threats will not be taken any more seriously than we take Ivanka and Jared. It is unsurprising that an administration that has never had any regard or understanding of our Constitution would try to trample on our First Amendment rights, but we fully intend on making this civics lesson as painful as possible.”
The billboards “will stay up,” the statement declared. “We consider it important that in Times Square, the crossroads of the world, people are continuously reminded of the cruelty, audacity and staggering lack of empathy the Trumps and Kushners have displayed toward the American people.”
Jared and Ivanka have always been entitled, out-of-touch bullies who have never given the slightest indication they have any regard for the American people.
We plan on showing them the same level of respect.
Our full statement: pic.twitter.com/M3K5nOE5qd
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 24, 2020
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.