Trump threatens lawsuit over ad using his own words to discourage mail voting

Melissa Sue Gerrits

Donald Trump's campaign vowed legal action and said it would seek a criminal investigation into a super PAC that ran a misleading digital ad in Pennsylvania featuring clips former president discouraging Republicans from voting by mail.

After having condemned mail voting for years, Trump is now embracing it and encouraging his voters to take advantage of the practice in the presidential election.

“MAGA Patriots, listen to our president,” the ad from Pennsylvania Values PAC begins, before it splices together sound bites of Trump condemning mail voting.

“Mail in voting is totally corrupt, get that through your head,” Trump says in one such clip.

The 30-second ad ends with the on-screen text: “Stand strong with President Trump against mail in voting!”

The digital ad ran over the weekend, according to Google data. Trump's campaign sent the group a cease-and-desist letter Tuesday afternoon.

“We are aware of your advertisement falsely claiming that President Trump has asked Pennsylvania voters not to vote by mail. This advertisement may constitute both a criminal and civil conspiracy to injure the rights of President Trump’s supporters to cast their ballots in Pennsylvania. Cease and desist broadcasting, or otherwise distributing via the internet or elsewhere, this false advertisement immediately and preserve all relevant documents in anticipation of likely litigation,” the Trump campaign said in a letter to the group’s publicly listed treasurer.

In the letter, the Trump campaign argued the group was violating the Ku Klux Klan Act, legislation enacted to protects Americans from political intimidation. That law has also been cited in litigation against Trump and his allies over the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Pennsylvania Values PAC spent between $10,000 and $15,000 to show more than 800,000 Pennsylvania voters the ad, according to Google data. The ad has since been removed from the platform, with Google citing a policy violation.

According to Google data, it is the PAC's first Google ad in nearly six years. During the 2018 cycle, it ran a series of ads attacking Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican who ran for the Senate in 2018 against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

An official with the group didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.