Kyle Gombosi is a senior Music: Elective Studies major with a minor in journalism. KG806059@wcupa.edu
“Dedicated Americans protecting democracy.”
These words, in large font, greet visitors to the Lincoln Project’s official website, and right underneath them stands the following description:
“The Lincoln Project is holding accountable those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before America.”
The main individual to whom these words refer is obviously Donald Trump, current President of the United States and main target of the ads financed by the Lincoln Project — and these ads are, admittedly, excoriating and galvanizing.
In their ad entitled “9/11,” the Lincoln Project lambastes Trump for bragging, on that day, that he now had the tallest building in New York, using his own recorded words to condemn him. They criticize him for lying about helping at Ground Zero and place the full blame on his shoulders for a “9/11 death toll every three days” from the coronavirus.
“Donald Trump is making America more dangerous” is the opening line of their ad entitled “Radicalize.” “Two millionaire lawyers in front of their mansion threaten peaceful demonstrators with guns,” they say, and “Donald Trump honors them at the convention” because they threatened “peaceful Black demonstrators with guns.” The Lincoln Project also connects the incident involving Kyle Rittenhouse, where he “kills two unarmed demonstrators,” because Rittenhouse “sat in the front of a Trump rally and heard his message of hate and division.”
And in perhaps their most vicious ad, entitled “#TrumpIsNotWell,” the Lincoln Project asserts, “there’s something wrong with Donald Trump: he’s shaky, weak — trouble speaking, trouble walking,” while showing video clips they believe prove their claims.
Those of you who are familiar with my editorials probably look at these examples and think I would appreciate their uncompromising, take-no-prisoners approach to attacking Trump — and you would be mostly correct. Overall, I can’t fault the Lincoln Project for the content of their ads. It’s a good political strategy.
But when we dig a little deeper under the surface, some troubling discoveries can be made of the Lincoln Project to say the least.
Scrolling down past the aforementioned description on the Super PACs homepage, snuck into the body of their mission statement, there is this sentence: “Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain.”
Ah, and here we come to the truth of it: the Lincoln Project was founded by several “never-Trump” Republicans, political strategists and pundits who themselves are responsible for the state of the party that resulted in the Trump presidency.
Take, for example, co-founder Rick Wilson. A longtime Republican political operative, Wilson campaigned for Rudy Giuliani during both his New York City mayoral campaign and his U.S. Senate campaign. Before this, Wilson worked under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney — one of the most thoroughly evil men in recent American politics — within President George H. W. Bush’s administration.
Speaking of Dick Cheney, consider Steve Schmidt, another co-founder of the Lincoln Project and former Counselor to then-Vice President Cheney in George W. Bush’s administration, aiding and abetting the lies and mistruths of that Presidency that facilitated the American invasion of Iraq.
At least seven members of the Lincoln Project — including the aforementioned Schmidt — have ties to the latter Bush administration, which is responsible for the deaths of at least half a million Iraqis and the displacement of millions more.
Ironically, the Lincoln Project and their founders have the audacity to frame the invasion of Iraq as a noble and righteous cause. Another segment of their “9/11” ad says: “After 9/11, America went to war. Thousands volunteered and many died. Today, Donald Trump calls them ‘suckers’ and ‘losers.’”
Is it not an infinitely greater moral failing to send those soldiers to die, needlessly, in a useless and greedy war? It is of that which the founders of the Lincoln Project are guilty.
While I have, in past editorials, urged aggressive and decisive action against Trump, I have always advocated that it come from Democrats, that it is the center and the left of our American political spectrum that ought to attack the Trump administration. I have never advocated for alliances with disgruntled “never-Trump” Republicans, and I think it is frankly insulting that they would try to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people and attempt to continue shaping policy and political discourse.
After their many political and moral sins, the founders ought to take responsibility for creating the climate that gave us Donald Trump and then immediately and permanently disappear from American politics.
We don’t need them.