Speed Reads

Ad Wars

New Lincoln Project ad ruthlessly takes aim at yet another Trump soft spot: Crowd sizes

The Lincoln Project, a super PAC of Republican strategists seeking to defeat President Trump, released another ad Tuesday morning that savagely targets one of Trump's manifest insecurities, in this case the first one he revealed as president.

"It took almost four years for Trump to get the crowds he wanted," the narrator says over photos of Trump's sparse inaugural crowd followed by large Black Lives Matters protests from around the country. "After years of Donald Trump's divisiveness and discord, America is coming together." Voters will have to choose between America and Trump, the ad argues. "Imagine how big the crowds will be when he's gone."

Trump has tried to hit back at the Lincoln Project's founders, including George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, but the group seems to revel in his tweets and verbal insults. They even created an ad bragging "we're still there, living in your head."

There's evidence the group really has gotten inside Trump's head. One reason Trump's re-election campaign is spending more than $400,000 on cable news ads in the solidly blue Washington, D.C., market is his paid advisers are "hoping to counter-program recent ads" by the Lincoln Project, The Daily Beast reported Monday night, citing two campaign sources. Trump responded furiously after the super PAC aired an ad called "Mourning in America" on Fox News in the D.C. area, a strategy Conway said his group learned from Trump's team.

The Lincoln Project also cut an ad zeroing in on Trump's reported anxiety that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is using the Trump name to get rich, even as Trump's poll numbers slide.

Conway has argued at length that Trump is a sociopathic narcissist, and another recent mocked "a frightened Trump" who "hides from protesters in a deep bunker, firing off tweets" like a "coward." Trump claimed on Fox News radio last week that he was only "inspecting" the bunker, an obvious lie that Attorney General William Barr causally upended Monday afternoon.

"The Lincoln Project represents a limited constituency, given that President Trump has received exceedingly high approval numbers among Republicans in poll after poll," The Daily Beast notes. "But the group and its D.C.-targeted messages have managed to get under the president's skin."