A “Never Trump” Republican group has released a new attack ad featuring a former Navy Seal saying Donald Trump is weak, not a conservative, and the most easily fixable problem in the country.
“Protecting our freedom and the rules of the game is a fundamentally conservative act,” Mr Barkhuff says in the video. “President Trump shows no such respect for the constitution, he and his cronies disrespect freedom of assembly, due process, and states’ rights.”
The video is narrated over images of Black Lives Matter protests, federal police making arrests during riots in Portland, and the president posing with a Bible in front of St John’s Church.
It is the latest in a series of videos from the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, which have compared the president to Biff Tannen from Back to the Future, dubbed his Fox News interview with a Seinfield-style laugh track, and questioned what Ghislaine Maxwell has on the president.
Since its formation in December, the Lincoln Project has raised $20 million from donors including Walmart heiress Christy Walton, Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway, hedge fund billionaire Andy Redleaf, and oil executive Sidney Jansma Jr.
The super-PAC was created by prominent GOP operatives including George Conway, husband to presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Steve Schmidt, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 campaign.
Mr Schmidt responded on Twitter on Monday to reports in The New York Post that he tried and failed to join the Trump campaign in 2016, saying he was offered a role three times but turned it down.
“I’d rather be dead than disgrace myself and my children’s name by working for Trump,” Mr Schmidt said.
In a launch manifesto published in The New York Times, the Lincoln Project’s founders declared: “We are republicans, and we want Trump defeated.”
“The 2020 general election, by every indication, will be about persuasion,” they wrote. “Our efforts are aimed at persuading….disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts.”
In its effort to persuade disaffected Republicans, the group has engaged in practices similar to other pro-Trump Republican PACs, according to a report by campaign-finance watchdog Centre for Responsive Politics released in May.
“The Republican super PAC has amassed a substantial war chest, but it has come under scrutiny for funnelling money to its advisory board members and spending relatively little airing political ads to influence voters,” the report said.
“The group also hides some of its vendors by stealthily paying subcontractors, making it difficult to follow the money. The Lincoln Project reported spending nearly $1.4m through March. Almost all of that money went to the group’s board members and firms run by them.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign, Erin Perrine, dismissed The Lincoln Project’s latest attack ad.
“This is the swamp – yet again – trying to take down the duly elected president of the United States,” Ms Perrine said in a statement shared with The Hill.
“President Trump is the leader of a united Republican Party where he has earned 94 per cent of Republican votes during the primaries – something any former president of any party could only dream of.”