WASHINGTON — A new ad supporting Hillary Clinton uses the words of Republican leaders and appointees to make the case that Donald Trump is unfit to lead the United States.
The spot is part of an effort by the Democratic nominee and her allies to frame stopping Trump — and backing her candidacy — as a national cause for Americans of all political persuasions.
The 30-second spot shows clips of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and others questioning Trump’s temperament and foreign policy experience.
Trump’s comments “create a clear and present danger,” says Hayden. “Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies,” says Romney. And Gates raises concerns about Trump’s “admiration” for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
It’s highly unusual to make the case for a candidate by using the words of the opposing party’s previous nominee. But increasingly, Clinton and her supporters have been explicitly appealing to Republicans, hoping to win over moderates turned off by Trump’s divisive rhetoric and foreign policy inexperience.
The Democratic convention last week featured several Republican speakers who pledged their support for Clinton, including Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, and independents. For the struggling, the striving the successful. For all those who vote for me and for those who don’t. For all Americans together!” Clinton said in her convention address.
Since then, a number of Republicans have broken ranks. On Tuesday, Clinton picked up the backing of former EBay executive and Republican fundraiser Meg Whitman and New York Rep. Richard Hanna, the first Republican House member to back her.
Others have remained quiet: Romney and the two past president Bushes have not endorsed Trump or Clinton.
Republicans said that Clinton’s history and high negative numbers among Republicans make it unlikely she’ll find many cross-over voters. But even convincing those voters to stay home — or write in another candidate— could help Clinton.
The spot was released by Priorities USA, a Super PAC supporting Clinton. Super PACs are groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money, but aren’t allowed to coordinate with campaigns.
The ad is running in nine battleground states.