President Donald Trump’s own words from this weekend’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma are being used against him in a series of new attack ads from his critics on both the left and the right.
On Saturday, Trump said he ordered his advisers to “slow the testing down” for coronavirus infections so the U.S. wouldn’t have so many cases ― an order that would fly in the face of medical advice.
Progressive PAC MeidasTouch called it “mass murder on a national scale”:
MeidasTouch was founded by Ben Meiselas ― the lawyer who represented former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his settlement with the NFL ― and his two brothers.
On the right, conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project also featured the president’s testing comments in its latest video.
“The most deceptive, lying president in history finally told the truth,” a voiceover in the spot said. “Somehow, it was more shocking than all his deceptions.”
Priorities USA, the preferred Super PAC for the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden, used Trump’s own words in at least two new ads.
“The most important job of a president is to protect the American people, but not to Donald Trump,” the narrator said in one of the spots. “Instead of working to slow the spread, Donald Trump says he slowed down the testing. Now, over 120,000 dead.”
Trump’s team has been struggling to explain his testing comments, with White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh claiming they were “tongue-in-cheek,” “made in jest” and “ironic humor.”
But on Tuesday, Trump said that was not the case at all.
“I don’t kid,” he said. “Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear.”
Despite Trump’s comments, testing for COVID-19 is on the rise in the U.S. So are the number of new cases and not just because of the increased testing. The percentage of positive tests has also steadily increased over recent weeks.