The latest scorcher of an attack ad by the Republican Lincoln Project concedes Donald Trump had other priorities before launching his lackluster battle against COVID-19. But he wasn’t distracted by impeachment, as he claims. Instead, he was too busy golfing and packing people into campaign rallies, according to the message released Thursday by the conservative group.
“Coronavirus has now killed three times more Americans than 9/11,” the ad notes somberly at the start. “So what’s Donald Trump been up to? Blaming the impeachment hearings for distracting him from preparing for the pandemic.”
Despite warnings about the urgency of the virus from both his trade adviser Peter Navarro and the World Health Organization in January — and the subsequent shutdown of Italy — Trump “had plenty to do, like campaign rallies and golfing,” notes the ad, titled “Distracted.”
The “day before the first American died, where was Trump? Where do you think he was?” the narrator asks. “At another rally. By March, the world was calling coronavirus a pandemic. Where was Trump? On Twitter, as usual, blaming everyone else.”
Trump “just didn’t care. He still doesn’t. He was never distracted. And Americans have been paying attention,” the video concludes.
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last month said impeachment “diverted the attention of the government” from dealing with COVID-19. Trump told reporters: “I got impeached. I think you know I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it, right?” But the president also said he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“The President’s dishonest, incompetent, and delusional press conferences have veered into disturbing territory,” Reed Galen, political strategist and co-founder of The Lincoln Project, said in a statement Thursday. “The President is aware he lacks the competency to deal with this crisis, though he refuses to hold himself accountable. Instead, he’d rather place blame for his ineptitude on an irrelevant issue.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. reported 456,828 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 16,000 deaths. Trump vowed in February that tally of cases then would plummet from 15 to “close to zero.”
Check out the latest video above.
The Lincoln Project was founded last year by a group of Republicans, including George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, to defeat Trump in November. The group endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s presumed Democratic presidential rival, on Wednesday.
Early last month, the group launched its “Grifters” series to highlight the ways in which the president’s family has financially benefited from his time in office.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- How long are asymptomatic carriers contagious?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here's what you need to know.
- How to switch off from work when home is your office
- 8 sleep tips if coronavirus anxiety is keeping you up at night
- How long does coronavirus live in the air?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
- Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.