Days after President Donald Trump warned that Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) “has to have a big price to pay” for raising questions about the president’s now-withdrawn second choice for secretary of Veterans Affairs, a pro-Trump super PAC is trying to make that happen. A misleading new ad from America First Action Super PAC attempts to present Trump’s own criticisms of Tester as sourced facts.
The 30-second spot, called “Disgraceful,” claims that Tester — who is up for re-election in November — “spread false information about a respected Navy admiral, helping DC Democrats derail President Trump’s Veterans Affairs nominee,” Ronny Jackson.
The ad shows quotes from various sources on the screen to attempt to support its view that it is “time for Tester to go.”
The ad begins with an announcer saying, “In Montana, we value integrity.” It is unclear who “we” refers to, as the super PAC is registered to an address in Arlington, Virginia, and none of its top donors are from Montana.
As for integrity, a closer look at these quotes reveals that, really, they are just Trump.
The first quote is attributed to “Fox News Insider, 4/27/18.” The quote does not actually come from Fox News Insider, but rather a Fox News Insider article quoting Trump as saying Montana “won’t put up with false accusations” against Jackson.
Next, another quote is also attributed to “Fox News Insider, 4/26/18,” but also is actually a story that quotes Fox News commentator Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump loyalist who was reportedly considered to be a potential White House press secretary, criticizing people inside the VA for raising allegations of misconduct against Jackson.
The next quote is sourced to “The Hill, 4/28/18,” but also merely quotes an article in that publication that quoted Trump directly.
After a quote from a story about the Secret Service disputing one of the accusations that had been made about Jackson, the ad finally makes clear what it is really doing.
As the narrator calls Tester “disgraceful, dishonest,” the ad shows two quotes — both attributed to Trump himself.