By WILL STEAKIN and SOO RIN KIM, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — A new super PAC backed by GOP megadonors has emerged to support President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in the last two months leading up to the election.
The new group, called Preserve America, is organized by senior Republican operatives including former Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCivita.
Starting this week, Preserve America PAC is launching a $30 million ad blitz in some of the key battleground states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arizona.
Preserve America began airing its first ads on Tuesday, with more than $25 million of that $30 million planned for television ads in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Wisconsin in the next couple weeks. The rest of this first round of ads — $5 million — is expected to go to digital ads, the group told ABC News.
Two ads from the group aired Tuesday morning, both zeroing in on linking former Vice President Joe Biden to the defund the police movement. One features an Arizona woman named Alyssa Cordova, who lost her police officer husband in the line of duty. The other one features John Gillis, a retired Los Angeles police lieutenant who talks about how his daughter was murdered by a gang member.
Politico first reported on the new group.
The new super PAC comes after a rocky year for America First Action, which was a super PAC that the Trump campaign officially endorsed in 2019. Campaign aides and other allies had grown increasingly incensed over its inaction earlier this year while a slew of pro-Democrat and pro-Biden groups flooded the zone painting the president as a “failed” leader amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They’re not spending any money. And they’re not defending the president when he needs allies more than ever right now. Where are our friends?” a source close to the campaign told ABC News in April when tensions hit a boiling point. “Where the hell is America First?”
Last May, the Trump campaign called America First the “one approved outside non-campaign group.” The campaign did not respond when asked if that statement still stands or if Preserve America is also considered an approved outside group.
LaCivita, who will be leading the new group, is a veteran Republican strategist who worked closely with now-convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Previously, he played a significant role in the Swift Boast Veterans for Truth campaign that damaged former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry during the 2004 election.
“The radical left-wing mob is trying to destroy our country from within and Joe Biden is too weak to stop them,” LaCivita wrote in a statement to ABC News. “It’s a concern shared by a growing number of Americans and we intend to spread their message far and wide over the coming months.”
Preserve America has yet to file an FEC fundraising report to show who’s bankrolling this massive last-minute effort, but a host of major GOP/Trump donors are behind it, including casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, according to a source familiar.
Earlier in August, Adelson was reportedly engaged in a contentious phone call with Trump when the president confronted the Las Vegas billionaire for not doing enough to support his 2020 campaign.
Adelson, who is one of the biggest Republican contributors out there, earlier this year gave $580,000 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, but has yet to donate to America First this year.
During the 2016 election, he was involved in a similar 11th-hour boost for Trump, when he sat out through most of the 2016 cycle and in the last few weeks of the election dropped $25 million to a new super PAC that supported Trump.
Marcus too has been a major donor to Trump, giving millions during the 2016 election to a super PAC run by Manafort’s associates. He gave $100,000 to America First in 2018 and $360,600 to Trump Victory earlier this year but none to America First this year yet.
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