A week after the conservative Club for Growth launched a $1 million ad buy in Iowa slamming Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s conservative credentials, the Republican front-runner fired back Tuesday.
In a scathing letter, Trump’s general counsel Alan Garten called the 16-year-old conservative organization a “pitiful little group,” said it “shamelessly attempted to extort Mr. Trump to the tune of $1 million” in exchange for its endorsement, and demanded that it remove its two ads from the air. The episode pits the Club for Growth, a group that typically supports candidates who are a thorn in the establishment’s side, against Trump, one of the greatest thorns the Republican Party’s establishment has felt. It’s also placed a politician who has been referred to as a bully – from derogatory comments about women such as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, entertainer Rosie O’Donnell and Republican presidential opponent Carly Fiorina, to remarks about Republican Sen. John McCain’s heroism in the military – in the position where he claims he is the one being bullied.
When I intelligently turned down The Club For Growth crazy request for $1,000,000, they got nasty.What a waste of money that would have been— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2015
Actually @realDonaldTrump asked for that mtg & then asked for races he could support. Thought he could buy us off. Worst Kind of Politician — CFG + CFG Action (@club4growth) September 2, 2015
“We will not sit idly by and allow special interest groups and political action committees like yours to defame Mr. Trump and cause damage to his reputation and business interests by intentionally disseminating libelous statements you fully know to be untrue,” Garten wrote in his cease and desist letter to Club for Growth President David McIntosh.
One of the group’s ads features images of Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders along with video of Trump telling a reporter, “I probably identify more as a Democrat.” Another blasts Trump for his use of and support for eminent domain laws. Both began airing last Thursday and were scheduled to run for two weeks.
If McIntosh and the group do not pull the ads, Garten wrote, “Please be advised that we will commence a multimillion dollar lawsuit against you personally and your organization for your false and defamatory statements.”
McIntosh, in a statement Tuesday, said the ads would continue to run, adding the suggestion “that Donald grow up, stop whining, and try to defend his liberal record.”
“Trump has advocated higher taxes numerous times over many years, just like he’s advocated for universal health care, the Wall Street bailout, and expanded government powers to take private property,” he said. “Trump’s own statements prove that our ads are accurate.”
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