EXCLUSIVE: A Republican group that opposes President Trump’s reelection is going up with a new ad that spotlights the president slowly walking down a ramp Saturday during his appearance at the U.S. Military Academy’s commencement ceremony at West Point.
“Something’s wrong with Donald Trump. He’s shaky. Weak. Trouble speaking. Trouble walking,” the narrator says in the spot by The Lincoln Project while video of the president from Saturday plays.
The clip of Trump carefully descending the ramp — as West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams walked alongside him — went viral and spurred tons of media coverage questioning the health of the president, who turned 74 on Sunday.
The president on Saturday night pushed back against the speculation.
“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” Trump tweeted. “The last thing I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!”
In what appears to be a small ad buy, The Lincoln Project told Fox News that the spot will run in the D.C. television market later this week.
The widespread coverage of the incident comes as the president, his reelection campaign and allies have repeatedly questioned the health and mental acuity of Trump’s presumptive Democrat challenger, 77-year old Joe Biden.
And on Thursday, in an interview with Fox News, Trump claimed that “Joe’s not all there. Everybody knows it. And it’s sad when you look at it and you see it.
Some media outlets faced criticism this week for going overboard in their coverage questioning the president’s health. The episode brought back memories of the criticism conservative outlets took for their coverage of Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health after she got the flu and when she appeared shaky as she got into a vehicle following a 9/11 ceremony in New York City in 2016.
While the Biden campaign has yet to spotlight the incident at West Point, Trump and his campaign repeatedly took aim at Clinton over questions regarding her health during the 2016 general election.
The ad by The Lincoln Project is their latest to take aim at the president.
Earlier this month, the group ran a commercial that spotlighted comments in March by Trump didn’t “take responsibility at all” for a widespread lack of coronavirus testing Americans faced at a time when the pandemic was spreading across the nation.
The group also recently went up with a spot targeting the president over his comments and record on race relations amid a wave of unrest in cities across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The Lincoln Project was formed late last year by well-known Never Trumpers. Among them are George Conway, the husband of senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Republican consultants John Weaver, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson, who were leading political advisers to the late Sen. John McCain. Weaver was also the top political adviser for then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump has slammed The Lincoln Project, calling it a “group of RINO Republicans who failed badly.”