Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump accused the conservative Club for Growth group of “libel” in a letter that a Trump aide sent to reporters on Tuesday.
The Club for Growth announced last week that it was investing more than $US1 million behind two attack ads against Trump, one of which accuses the Republican front-runner of wanting to hike taxes.
But Trump insists he only supported a one-time tax increase on the super wealthy 15 years ago and does not hold that belief anymore.
“This is the very definition of libel,” Trump’s press release on the topic asserted.
The release — titled “Donald J. Trump Sends Club for Growth Scathing Cease and Desist Letter Regarding Recent ‘Attack Ads'” — repeatedly bashed the Club for Growth, with whom Trump has constantly feuded during his campaign.
“I am not surprised the dishonest, irrelevant and totally failing Club for Growth has resorted to attacking the definitive front-runner, especially after I refused to contribute to their pathetic group,” Trump said in a statement.
In the cease-and-desist letter to Club for Growth President David McIntosh, Trump lawyer Alan Garten similarly tore into the “pitiful little group” while promising a devastating lawsuit should the group not immediately pull its attack ads against Trump.
“Simply stated, your Attack Ad is not only completely disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false, defamatory attacks and destructive statements and downright fabrications which you fully know to be untrue, thereby exposing you and your so-called ‘club’ to liability for damages and other tortious harm,” Garten wrote.
Garten said he was only willing to offer the Club for Growth a “one-time opportunity to rectify this matter” and avoid “what will certainly be a costly litigation process.”
“In the event, however, that we do not receive these assurances, please be advised that we will commence a multi-million dollar lawsuit against you personally and your organisation for your false and defamatory statements,” he concluded. “Please be guided accordingly.”
It would be striking if Trump were able to successfully sue the group for libel, as distorting opponents’ policy positions and taking them out of context is a relatively common practice in US politics.
In response to the threat, the Club for Growth issued its own press release titled “Club for Growth Action Responds to Trump’s Whining.”
“Tough guy Donald Trump starts whining when his liberal record is revealed,” McIntosh said. “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. Trump’s own statements prove that our ads are accurate. They will continue to run. We suggest that Donald grow up, stop whining, and try to defend his liberal record.”
View Trump’s letter below:
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