It looks like the party is over for Republican 2016 hopefuls. The gloves are off, and a new effort led by former Scott Walker operative Liz Mair is about to launch some ICBMs in the form of attack ads at him, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A well-connected GOP operative is planning a “guerrilla campaign” backed by secret donors to “defeat and destroy” the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
A super PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich is airing a series of ads targeting Mr. Trump. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush struck with his bluntest attacks yet on Friday, and the super PAC associated with the Club for Growth, an economic conservative group, is trying to raise money to resume attack ads that it has run in Iowa against Mr. Trump.
Together, the efforts seem to represent a turning point in the GOP contest, in which other campaigns have previously been skittish about taking on Mr. Trump so directly. The sense of urgency has mounted in part because Mr. Trump continues at or near the top of GOP polls, even after many predicted that the Paris terror attacks would lead voters to turn to a more seasoned candidate.
The most concerted effort is Trump Card LLC, the self-styled guerrilla campaign being launched by Liz Mair, the former online communications director of the Republican National Committee.
“In the absence of our efforts, Trump is exceedingly unlikely to implode or be forced out of the race,” according to the Trump Card memo. “The stark reality is that unless something dramatic and unconventional is done, Trump will be the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton will become president.”
The Kasich effort already has Trump frothing at his keyboard, based on the Twitter missiles he launched earlier today.
Politico reported earlier in the evening that a pro-Kasich super PAC was planning to unload $2.5 million or more to take down Trump, the Republican front-runner, in New Hampshire.
This prompted a dozen-tweet barrage by Trump against Kasich, ripping the PAC's attack as "pathetic" and calling the governor a "dud" over the report, among many other things.↓ Story continues below ↓
"I want to do negative ads on John Kasich, but he is so irrelevant to the race that I don’t want to waste my money," Trump said.
"Watch Kasich squirm --- if he is not truthful in his negative ads I will sue him just for fun!" he continued.
The billionaire apparently took his threat beyond Twitter. The super PAC, New Day for America, published a letter from The Trump Organization's lawyer warning that Trump would promptly seek "legal action" against the committee if its ads lied about Trump.
"It has come to my attention that you plan on producing and disseminating certain radio, television, and newspaper advertisements directly and personally attacking my client," Trump's lawyer, Alan Garten, wrote in the letter, which was also addressed to the Kasich campaign.
"Please be advised that in the event your ads contain any false, misleading, defamatory or otherwise tortious statements or representations concerning Mr. Trump's business or his brand, we will not hesitate to seek immediate legal action," it continued.
The funniest part of this is that the Liz Mair-led effort doesn't just seek to damage Trump in the polls, but to suppress Republican base voters in the primaries.
The goal, according to the memo, isn’t to convert Mr. Trump’s supporters into backing other candidates, but to dissuade them from voting altogether, especially in New Hampshire’s influential first-in-the-nation primary.
Hey, if voter suppression works to defeat Democrats, why wouldn't it work to defeat Fuhrer Trump?