Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have reportedly threatened to sue the Lincoln Project over coronavirus-themed ads. The advertisements in question are two giant billboards located in Times Square in New York City and depict Kushner and Ivanka. One billboard shows Ivanka smiling and gesturing towards the death toll from the coronavirus in the United States in general, and in New York in particular.
The photo of Ivanka was apparently taken from a July post on Twitter where she held a can of Goya Foods.
If it’s Goya, it has to be good.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 15, 2020
Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno. pic.twitter.com/9tjVrfmo9z
The other ad shows Jared Kushner near rows of body bags along with a quote: "[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that’s their problem."
According to Vanity Fair magazine, Kushner, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, made the statement at a government meeting in March, when the coronavirus outbreak started in the United States. Back then, Kushner reportedly blasted New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo for the slow response to the pandemic.
"Cuomo didn’t pound the phones hard enough to get PPE [personal protective equipment] for his state…. His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem", Kushner said, as cited by someone who, according to the magazine, attended the meeting.
The White House has categorically denied Kushner made the statement. An investigation conducted by The Wall Street Journal in September found that Cuomo’s decision to delay the shutdown of the biggest city in the United State contributed to the US' high death toll from coronavirus.
Now Ivanka and Kushner’s lawyers are threatening to sue the Lincoln Project for what they describe as "malicious and defamatory" ads.
"Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement. Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project’s representations that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel", read an email sent by lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz.
The Lincoln Project posted a screenshot of Kasowitz’s letter on Twitter with the caption "Nuts!"
The political action committee was formed in 2019 by a group of current and former Republican strategists in order to prevent Donald Trump from winning the 2020 presidential election. The Lincoln Project has already spent seven-figure sums on TV and digital ads criticising Donald Trump and his administration.
#LPTV Join us tonight LIVE at 9pm ET for The Breakdown with @TheRickWilson, @TaraSetmayer, @MarioNicolaiEsq and @kathleendwarner— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 21, 2020
Questions? We’re here to answer them. Tweet #AskTheBreakdown pic.twitter.com/2OEHrXQbUs
Last week it was reported that at least 15 billionaires and their spouses had donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Lincoln Project. According to the committee’s records, it raised $39.4 million between July and September.