The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee boasted this weekend that David Jolly‘s campaign “lied and it backfired” regarding his camp’s announcement Friday that a local television station had pulled a controversial ad that uses doctored photos of Jolly with Donald Trump.
“Jolly’s bizarre strategy to solely object to dramatized pictures in a DCCC ad depicting a potential “President Trump” working with a future “Congressman Jolly” — failed miserably,” the DCCC chortled triumphantly in a statement issued Saturday. It was referring to a statement issued out by the Jolly campaign on Friday that Tampa Bay-area CBS affiliate WTSP-TV had announced on their Facebook page they were removing the ad.
“We have taken all photos and videos regarding the matter off our website and our television channel,” the station wrote back to one Sarasota resident who complained on the station’s Facebook page that the ad was “false and misleading.”
However, those and other statements on the WTSP Facebook page regarding the ad apparently weren’t authorized, according to WTSP news director Bob Clinkingbeard.
“Someone sending private messages using WTSP’s Facebook account” without authorization was what Clinkingbeard was telling the Tampa Bay Times on Friday.
The Trump-Jolly television ad has become one of the most controversial of any produced nationally this election cycle. It begins with a narrator asking viewers to “imagine David Jolly in Congress, supporting Trump’s dangerous agenda,” as an image of the Congressional District 13 incumbent shaking hands with Trump is shown on the screen. As more photoshopped images of Jolly and Trump are shown, the word “dramatization” is flashed on the screen. The ad also features doctored photos of Trump with Vladimir Putin.
The Jolly campaign immediately cried foul, calling on local television stations in the Tampa Bay area market to stop airing the ads, while threatening the DCCC with a lawsuit. Jolly and Trump have never met, Jolly has not endorsed Trump, and Jolly actually called on Trump to leave the race last December after the Republican presidential nominee proposed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
The ad links Jolly to Trump by referring to their shared support of restrictions on abortions and denying federal funds to Planned Parenthood, and it concludes with the narrator saying, “imagine Donald Trump as president and how dangerous he would be with David Jolly supporting him in Congress.”
Attorneys for the DCCC have said it’s clear from the context of the ad and the disclaimer that the images are not real, “but are used to depict what the future might look like if voters support Rep. Jolly’s candidacy. There is no risk of confusion on this point. The images simply contribute to the advertisement’s central message that Rep. Jolly and Donald Trump share the same dangerous positions on important issues and that if Mr. Trump is elected president and Rep. Jolly is re-elected to his seat in Congress, he will support Mr. Trump’s agenda on these issues. This advertisement is accurate in every respect, raises critical public policy issues, and should continue to air.”
“For a candidate who regularly uses the term ‘liar’ to describe his opponents, it’s ironic that Jolly has been flatly caught doing exactly that — lying,” said Jermaine House of the DCCC. “David Jolly is so desperate to hide this Trump-like record from voters, that he will do anything — even misleading the public — only this time it backfired.”