Dem Super PAC Joining Trump Station Lawsuit
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has granted a leading Democratic super PAC’s request to join a court fight between President Donald Trump and a Wisconsin TV station, which his campaign sued after it aired a political ad criticizing his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
That sets up a notable legal battle between Trump’s financially flush Republican reelection campaign and Priorities USA, one of the biggest spending groups in Democratic politics, which paid to air the ad.
The Trump campaign’s flare for theatrics were on display Wednesday. Although Priorities USA actively sought to intervene in the case, the Trump campaign instead claimed credit for being the one who sued Priorities.
“Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. today filed a complaint against Priorities USA (PUSA) for defamation in their sponsoring of an ad that includes false and libelous statements against the President,” the campaign said in a news release that contained several misrepresentations.
Trump spent the first months of 2020 downplaying the pandemic, accusing Democrats and the media of hysteria as he pointed to low numbers of confirmed cases and deaths from the virus. Trump’s full “hoax” quote at a Feb. 28 rally in South Carolina, however, came in the context of Democrats’ criticism of his response.
Priorities USA has spent much of Trump’s term researching voters’ views in key battleground states, including Wisconsin, that delivered Trump his Electoral College victory in 2016, and the super political action committee has committed to an extended television and digital advertising campaign to potential swing voters in those states.
“Priorities USA Action successfully intervened as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign against a small Wisconsin TV station in a desperate attempt to prevent Americans from hearing the truth about Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Priorities USA chair Guy Cecil said in a statement Tuesday. “We stand by the facts in our ad that uses Trump’s own words.”