The Lincoln Project has a much smaller war chest than other independent groups going after Trump. But it is aiming to make the most of its unique position by directly antagonizing the president, who appears particularly piqued by the involvement of lawyer George T. Conway, who is married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
While the group’s primary focus is Trump, it has also sought to needle other Republicans it accuses of enabling Trump’s presidency.
In a statement, George Conway cited McConnell’s moves to limit the scope of Trump’s impeachment trial, focused on the president’s conduct toward Ukraine, as among the motivations for targeting him.
“When he fixed the impeachment trial by blocking evidence of Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors, McConnell violated and abased the solemn oaths he took as a United States Senator,” Conway said. “Add in the fact that, as our ad shows, he’s managed to do much better for himself than for the people of Kentucky, and it becomes a no-brainer: McConnell has to go.”
McConnell’s campaign was quick to dismiss the impact of the ad, citing a limited initial buy on television.
“No scam PAC of grifters has ever been less relevant and no group of DC consultants will be forgotten faster than these thieves who bet everything on three days of dishonest ads in Kentucky,” the campaign said in a statement.
Polls have shown McConnell facing a more robust than expected challenge for reelection this year from the likely Democratic Senate nominee, Amy McGrath, a well-funded retired Marine lieutenant colonel and combat pilot. But McConnell’s seat has not been high on the list of potential Democratic pickups tracked by the parties.
McGrath first faces a Democratic primary that has been moved back to June 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lincoln Project’s ads targeting Trump have included several critical of his handling of the pandemic, including one released early this month that provided a dark twist on President Ronald Reagan’s celebrated 1984 “Morning in America” campaign spot.
The Lincoln Project ad focuses on the skyrocketing unemployment rate and covid-19 death toll. “If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?” asks the narrator.
Hours after it aired on a Fox News show, Trump angrily attacked the super PAC and its leaders on Twitter, calling them “LOSERS” and a “disgrace.” After his criticism, the spot went viral.
Besides Conway, others involved in the super PAC include longtime GOP strategists Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee contributed to this report.