Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
The Trump campaign alleges that the ad replayed Trump saying the coronavirus was Democrats' latest "hoax" without supplying the proper context. Twitter reportedly refused the campaign's request to flag the ad as "manipulated media," indicating it met the site's guidelines.
"Fellow Americans," a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, ran the ad but it's unclear where the group originated. Its website is relatively sparse and vaguely refers to opposing political division in the United States.
Fox News previously reported on how multiple media outlets similarly omitted context surrounding Trump's comments to a rally audience in February. The ad splices several statements from Trump, playing them against the backdrop of a chart showing the escalation of coronavirus cases in the U.S.
One of those quotes includes Trump's "hoax" comment but does so by combining two separate statements and not providing the words Trump said before he used the "hoax" label. "The coronavirus, this is their new hoax," the ad says. According to The Washington Post, Trump never made that exact statement but it was included in another ad released by former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign. The Post also determined that Trump wasn't calling the virus itself a hoax.
"Now, the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," Trump told the crowd. "Coronavirus, they're politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You see, 'How's President Trump doing?' They go, 'oh not good, not good.' They have no clue. They can't even count their votes in Iowa -- not 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 and they've been doing it since you got in. It's all turning, they lost, it's all turning -- think of it, think of it, and this is their new hoax.'"
The Hill reported that it had reviewed emails which showed Twitter saying: “Our site integrity team has reviewed against the Synthetic and Manipulated Media Policy and determined it does not qualify for a label at this time."
Trump campaign spokesman Matt Wolking argued the incident showed "indisputable evidence that Twitter has one rule for the Trump campaign and another rule for Democrats." A Twitter spokesperson verified to Fox News that it didn't believe the ad met it standards for a label, but did not provide further comment.
The Fellow Americans ad was just the latest to pop up as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. Americans for Public Trust, another outside nonprofit led by former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, is claiming that similar anti-Trump messaging is coming from a series of organizations tied to Arabella Advisors -- a dark money nonprofit providing help to liberal groups. Specifically, it houses the New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund, both of which have supported another Democrat-aligned group -- American Bridge -- that's hitting Trump on the coronavirus response.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Pacronym is planning to spend $5 million on ads attacking Trump's response to the pandemic. That PAC is affiliated with the New Venture Fund and Acronym, whose board includes former Obama adviser David Plouffe. The ads will target five swing states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona) and run on major digital platforms like Facebook.
Protect our Care, which has been described as a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, has also been running an ad against Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., reportedly tying his opposition to ObamaCare to the coronavirus. On Thursday, Protect Our Care announced a "coronavirus war room" staffed with former aides to Hillary Clinton's and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns.
"Protect Our Care today is launching a Coronavirus War Room with a veteran group of operatives to drive its accountability and advocacy efforts on the coronavirus crisis with a focus on President Trump’s ongoing failure to prepare the nation for this pandemic," the group said in a press release.