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'Losers': Trump hits back at makers of fiercely critical ad

A new ad by a dissident Republican group has assailed US President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing him of failing to address the crisis  in a responsible way
A new ad by a dissident Republican group has assailed US President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing him of failing to address the crisis in a responsible way Brendan Smialowski AFP
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Washington (AFP)

A biting new anti-Trump ad by a group of dissident Republicans, including the husband of a top White House aide, prompted the US president to lash out Tuesday at the "losers" who created it.

Tens of thousands of Americans have been killed by "a deadly virus Donald Trump ignored," according to the one-minute online video, titled "Mourning in America."

It is a play on the famous 1984 re-election campaign commercial and slogan by Ronald Reagan, "Morning in America," and attacks Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker, and sicker, and poorer," the ad's narrator says, describing an "economy in shambles" with 26 million Americans out of work due to a nationwide shutdown.

"And now, Americans are asking, if we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?"

The total number of first-time claims for jobless benefits topped 30 million in the six weeks to the end of April.

The spot, which quickly went viral and has been seen more than five million times since its Monday release, mimics the cadence of Reagan's famous commercial.

But while that one projected prosperity and optimism, the anti-Trump ad showed dystopian images of dilapidated homes, abandoned factories and a man applying for unemployment insurance.

The video was produced by "The Lincoln Project," a group of self-described "never-Trump" Republicans including George Conway, husband of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.

Trump attacked the group in a four-tweet rant in the early hours of Tuesday.

"Their so-called Lincoln Project is a disgrace to Honest Abe," Trump added, referring to revered Civil War-era president Abraham Lincoln.

"I don't know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad."

Trump, apparently still incensed, addressed the issue again Tuesday with reporters before departing for an event in Arizona.

"I would have them change the name to the 'Losers Project,'" he said. "They're Republican losers."

Trump has always used fiery language to push back at opponents, but he has been particularly vocal during the pandemic as critics savage his response.

The ad, and the president's reaction, suggests a fierce war of words lies ahead as Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden begin campaigning ahead of November's election.

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