Donald Trump, in his first week as the official Republican nominee for the White House, will be getting some air support during the Democratic National Convention from one of the aligned super PACs promoting his candidacy, Great America PAC.
The group is out with a new, minute-long commercial featuring Dr. Dorothy Woods, the widow of Ty Woods, a former Navy Seal and one of four Americans killed in the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Great America PAC says that the commercial is part of a $2 million ad buy to support the businessman in upcoming weeks, both nationally and in battleground states. It will also air during presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s convention speech Thursday night.
Woods refers to her husband as a “fierce patriot” in the commercial, who died “while saving American lives under the charge of our State Department.”
“When Hillary Clinton was challenged by Congress on who is to blame for the attack, her response was a disgrace,” Woods says, looking straight into the camera.
Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attacks has come under fierce criticism for years from Republicans and has been the subject of eight congressional inquiries and one by the State Department. None of the inquiries have found any direct wrongdoing by Clinton, but has faulted her State Department for not grasping security gaps that left the compound vulnerable.
“Dorothy Woods has powerful story that vividly displays Hillary Clinton’s failed leadership and disgraceful response to the Benghazi attack during congressional hearings,” said Brent Lowder, a top adviser to the PAC.
“This new ad accomplishes two key things – it shows a stark contrast in leadership between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and it connects with voters on an emotional level. Above all else, voters want a President that they can trust, and they increasingly know they cannot trust Hillary Clinton.”
There has been a power struggle among a number of pro-Trump super PACs aiming to be the chief home for wealthy donors hoping buoy the Trump candidacy. Initially, it seemed that Great America PAC would be the one that would win out. Great America brought on longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins to help lead the group, along with former top Trump campaign staffer, Stuart Jolly. It also added Lowder, the former executive director of the California Republican Party.
It held conference calls with donors that featured high profile Trump endorsers including former Texas governor Rick Perry and Dr. Ben Carson, once Trump’s rival for the nomination. However, Great America’s fundraising has, so far, not picked up steam ,and has since been replaced by Rebuilding America Now, another pro-Trump super PAC which has reportedly been unofficially blessed by the Trump campaign.
At the beginning of June, Great America only had $500,000 in the bank. It reported raising just north of $3 million in the next month. For perspective, Priorities USA, the main super PAC supporting Clinton’s candidacy, raised around $12 million in the same month.
Rollins has occasionally been critical of some of Trump’s comments, at one point telling Fox Business in June that Trump’s candidacy was in “big trouble,” and that his disparaging comments about the federal judge overseeing his Trump University case “put a spear through the heart of a lot of donors.”
Trump himself has shunned television advertising for the vast majority of his campaign, instead relying on media appearances to get his campaign’s message out. Even now, while Clinton blankets the airwaves, Trump does not have any television ads airing. He proudly boasted about this discrepancy in an interview that aired on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend, telling Ted Koppel, “I haven’t literally bought an ad. I will.”