As news reports emerge that the White House is mounting a renewed effort to smoke out internal leakers, a Republican anti-Trump campaign group has released a video telling the president that he cannot rely on anyone’s loyalty – and that even his family is “whispering” about him.
Addressing the president in the first person, the ad asks “why do you think you’re losing, Donald?”, answering that he has “a loyalty problem”. Echoed with sinister whispering, the voiceover continues: “They’re in your campaign, your White House, in Congress, even your own family.
“They whisper about you. They leak, spin, lie. They tell the media that they’re smart and you’re out of control – that you can’t focus, that you’re mentally and physically weak, that you hide in your bunker, scared and shaky, laugh when you can’t walk down a ramp or drink water …
“With so many leaks, you’d probably think it could be anyone. Donald – it’s everyone.”
The group tweeted out its ad for the first time on Tuesday, just as news outlets were reporting that the White House is narrowing down the list of potential culprits who may have leaked the story that the president ignored intelligence about Russian bounty payments for American soldiers’ lives.
The man *formerly* behind the Lincoln Project videos...
A video editor who shaped the buzzy Lincoln Project ads needling President Trump is no longer affiliated with the Republican organization over a series of past tweets in which he used offensive slang for female anatomy to insult political rivals.
Ben Howe, who came of age politically making anti-Obama ads during the rise of the tea party, did not publicly tout his work for the super PAC formed by a group of high-level Republican operatives who have broken ranks with the party over Trump’s presidency until a recent interview with Vanity Fair. He was described in the article as “the creative mind, video editor, and, he said, sometimes narrating voice on many of the group’s ads.”
The 19th, a nonprofit news outlet, had emailed the Lincoln Project about a series of Twitter posts made by Howe in the years after Trump’s election that deployed female anatomy as an insult, calling rivals a “vagina” or “twat,” or in some instances using a more profane term.
“Based on these unacceptable and offensive posts, and those that came to light last week, Ben Howe is no longer affiliated with the Lincoln Project, effective immediately,” Keith Edwards, the group’s spokesman, said in a statement.
Last week, the Daily Dot resurfaced tweets from Howe that defended Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. They were published by Talking Points Memo shortly after they were made in 2014 and have since been deleted.
Howe said he had written “ill advised” and “inexcusable” tweets and was grateful for the work he’d been involved in.
“Some people just need a tap on the shoulder to change. Others need a slap in the face. Me? I’ve often needed a piano dropped on my head. The piano fell years ago, but I suppose I’m still crawling out from under the wreckage in some ways,” he said in a statement. “I’m better than I’ve been. And I intend to be better than I am.”
Howe previously worked on an anti-Trump documentary film with the Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson and joined the group when it was founded late last year.