The Lincoln Project, the coalition of anti-Donald Trump Republicans working against his reelection in November, has slammed Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s legal threats as “scare tactics” and called the pair inept and incompetent, the latest barb in a battle over billboards the group put up in Time Square that attacked the couple for the administration’s coronavirus response.
The billboards erected in one of Manhattan’s busiest areas shows a photo of Ivanka grinning widely next to death totals attributed to the coronavirus, and Jared pictured with a quote that reads, “[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that’s their problem.”
Soon after the billboards went up, the Lincoln Project posted a copy of a letter dated Oct. 23 from lawyers representing Kushner and Trump calling for the billboards to be taken down immediately, calling them “false, malicious and defamatory,” and threatened the group would be sued for “what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.”
The Lincoln Project called the contents of the note “nuts,” on Twitter, and on Saturday followed up with an official and scathing response written by Matthew Sanderson, a part of the group’s legal counsel.
“Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere. The Lincoln Project will not be intimidated by such an empty bluster,” he wrote.
The group argued that by using a photo of Ivanka that she posted to tout a can of Goya beans and replacing the can with references to the coronavirus death toll, they were making a point that Ivanka “endorses the Trump Administration policies that have led to an unacceptable number of American deaths every bit as much as she once endorsed that can of beans.”
Jared’s quote referring to New York’s suffering came from anonymous sourcing in a Vanity Fair article, and Sanderson wrote the couple should only confront The Lincoln Project about its use “if at some point you somehow succeed in convincing Vanity Fair to retract its article.”
“Your clients are no longer mere Upper East Side socialites, able to sue at the slightest offense to their personal sensitivities. Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump are public officials,” Sanderson wrote, adding that if the pair are concerned about their standing in the eyes of Americans, “they would do well to stop suppressing truthful criticism and instead turn their attention to the Covid-19 crisis that is still unfolding under their inept watch.”
What To Watch
If Jared and Ivanka will continue to push for the billboards to be taken down, and how The Lincoln Project will use the couple in their fight to keep Donald Trump from being reelected. “This isn’t over,” Sanderson added at the end of his letter. “Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump will hear more from the Lincoln Project soon.”
Jared and Ivanka, both senior White House advisors, have faced criticism since the early years of Trump’s presidency after they were given top roles in the administration despite having little relevant experience. The Times Square billboards are the latest bid by The Lincoln Project to keep Trump out of office for a second term. The group is made up of anti-Trump Republicans, perhaps most notably lawyer George Conway, the husband of former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.