A Biden Super Pac has released an advert which Trump is fighting with cease and desist letters. And it’s about his response to the coronavirus.
The video juxtaposes a number of Trump’s statements underplaying the seriousness of the pandemic next to a chart showing the rising number of US cases of Covid-19. At the end of the clip, Trump can be heard refusing to take responsibility for lack of testing in the US (comments he made at a 13 March press conference), before the texts appears: “America needs a leader we can trust.”
Trump refused to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously, now he won’t take responsibility as his administration has been totally unprepared for this crisis. pic.twitter.com/Jdh1GY9HHS
— Priorities USA (@prioritiesUSA) March 23, 2020
Trump’s lawyers have now sent a cease and desist letter to television broadcast stations across the country to stop airing the ad created by Priorities USA, a Democratic Super Pac.
In particular, his lawyers take issue with one of the edits to a speech made by Trump at a rally in South Carolina. The edited video has Trump saying: “Coronavirus. This is their new hoax,” whereas, during the actual speech Trump also referred to the impeachment inquiry and the investigation into Russian interference in the US elections as hoaxes. A full excerpt from the speech is detailed in the cease and desist letter, and is as follows (our emphasis in bold, for the lines that were kept in the clip):
“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, “How’s President Trump doing?”, “Oh, nothing, nothing.” They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax.”
Because of this edit, Trump’s lawyers are calling the advert “patently false, misleading, and deceptive”.
The letter reads: “Your station has an obligation to cease and desist from airing [the advert] immediately to comply with FCC licensing requirements, to serve the public interest, and to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.”
In another line, the letter states that failure to remove the advert could be classed as an abdication of licensee responsibility. The president controls the FCC and appoints its commissioners, so it is up to them to pull broadcast licenses for stations that do not comply with its requirements.
The line reads: “Your station has a responsibility to ‘protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising’ … your failure to remove this deceptive ad … could put your station’s license in jeopardy.”