Veterans group launches ad against Trump in Pennsylvania

A liberal veterans PAC will launch an ad in Pennsylvania markets Sunday targeting former President Trump over his past comments about veterans.

The 60-second ad by VoteVets, first reviewed by The Hill, features Gold Star parents going after Trump for having in the past called veterans “losers” and “suckers.”

The ad opens with a shot of a military cemetery, and placed over it is a quote attributed to Trump: “Why should I go to that cemetery, it’s filled with losers.” In 2020, The Atlantic reported that Trump said this related to canceling a visit to a World War I cemetery in France. Trump said the report was false. It was later corroborated by John Kelly, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time of the disputed comments.

Following in the ad are comments from parents who lost children to war.

“My stepson was not a loser,” a Gold Star parent narrates. Later, she says, “My stepson was not a sucker.”

“My son is not a loser,” another mother says.

“My son Matthew is not a loser,” a father says.

The ad highlights two servicemen who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later, their Gold Star parents blast Trump, calling him “the real loser.”

“Lance Cpl. Alexander Scott Arredondo died in Najaf, Iraq, in 2004,” a Gold Star parent says of her stepson in the ad.

Another parent follows: “My son, Sgt. James Anthony Ayube II, gave his life in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2010. … That is something Donald Trump will never know.”

The ad ends with: “My message to Donald Trump is this, you have no right. You’re the real loser here.”

It will be broadcast during Sunday’s NFL conference championship between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers.

The six-figure ad buy will run in the Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Harrisburg markets.

In 2020, Biden won Pennsylvania, flipping the battleground state blue with about a 1.2 percent margin.

This is the first VoteVets ad buy in this election cycle. The group was one of the biggest spenders in the 2022 cycle, dropping $24,473,501 on independent expenditures, according to money-in-politics watchdog OpenSecrets. Action Fund, the group’s nonprofit arm, was active during the 2020 election. The affiliate spent $24,800 in independent expenditures supporting Biden and $92,461 opposing Trump.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla), the chairman of Veterans for Trump Coalition, responded on behalf of Trump’s campaign.

The congressman called the VoteVets a “shill” group that put out a “vile” ad and blasted Biden.

“First and foremost, it cites a refuted claim debunked by senior officials who were in the room years ago,” Mast said in a statement sent out out by the Trump campaign. “Recycling this fake news is made worse by exploiting the pain of family members of fallen soldiers.”

Updated: 4:14 p.m. ET

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