A new ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee featuring Donald Trump and a photoshopped David Jolly has sparked the ire of the Republican congressman vying for one of the most competitive congressional districts in the Sunshine State.
The DCCC ad, which is part of a larger $2 million ad buy in the race for Florida’s 13th congressional district, juxtaposes controversial Republican presidential nominee with Jolly in various situations.
“Imagine Donald Trump being sworn in as president, and imagine David Jolly in Congress supporting Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda,” the narrator reads.
The ad photoshops both Jolly and Trump together in a variety of shots which flash by as the ad attacks Jolly over filing legislation to restrict a woman’s right to choose and to defund Planned Parenthood.
Jolly’s campaign team has not taken the ad lightly. Jolly has repeatedly said he does not support Trump’s candidacy, a position he has echoed since December of last year.
According to his team, Jolly and Trump have never met or spoken to each other, which the campaign team says is evidenced by the fact the DCCC had to Photoshop images to portray the two together.
“This ad is a new low, even for the DCCC and Charlie Crist,” said Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the David Jolly for Congress campaign. “This ad not only falsely attempts to link David Jolly to Donald Trump, even though he has publicly said he does not support a Trump candidacy.”
In a letter to WFLA, legal counsel for Jolly explains the ad is not protected political speech since it is not paid for, authorized, or offered by a candidate. Therefore, TV stations are not under any obligation to accept or air the ad.
"The advertisement contains statements by a third-party, which you are now on notice, are patently false," wrote attorney Roger Beaubien, adding the campaign was fully prepared to pursue "all legal remedies" against WFLA and its affiliates for continuing to air the ad.
In an ironic twist, Jolly’s Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, has had a political past with Trump.
When Crist was a Republican, the two were quite chummy and Trump even donated several times to Crist’s past campaigns. Crist and Trump first met in 1998, and later met up in 2005 to talk about Crist’s first run for governor.
A few months later, Trump even gave 10 times the individual limit to donate to Crist’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
Trump made nine donations of $500 through different companies he owned. At the time, the maximum donation an individual or corporation could make to a political campaign was $500. Because the contributions were made from different companies, they were technically legal. Trump gave the same amount individually earlier that year.
Crist had warm words about Trump and his ambitions.
"He could not have been more gracious or more hospitable," Crist said at the time. "The guy cares about Florida. He has a residence in Florida and spends a lot of time in Florida."
But Trump did not give as much financial support to those competing to replace Crist as Attorney General in 2006, Bill McCollum and Skip Campbell.
Photos as recent as 2009 show the two appearing together at a concert for the March of Dimes Glitz Gala at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
Since then, Crist has switched parties, changing his political tune from the Independent Party to the Democratic Party. He opted to run for CD13 once the new congressional lines were redrawn to heavily favor Democrats.
Jolly’s campaign team sees the connection as a stain to Crist’s candidacy, using it as ammunition and demanding the former Florida governor denounce Trump.
“Once again, we call on Charlie Crist to denounce the comments made by Donald Trump and now we call on him to denounce this fake and deceptive television ad produced by his friends in the democratic national establishment,” said Bascom.
What’s worse, Bascom said, is the ad’s intentional misrepresentation of Jolly and Trump’s relationship.
“If Charlie Crist truly is a ‘man of the people,’ like he claims, then he too should call for the removal of an ad that knowingly and intentionally lies to the people of Pinellas County,” she said.