The White House is slamming a Democratic House hopeful one day after the Virginia candidate, a military veteran, released an ad comparing President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE to Osama bin Laden.
The administration called on House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE (D-Calif.) to denounce Dan Helmer, who is running against Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE (R).
“The message sent in a campaign ad from a congressional candidate from Virginia is nothing short of reprehensible. Leaders from across the political spectrum — starting with Leader Pelosi — must swiftly condemn this abhorrent message,” said Raj Shah, a White House spokesman.
Helmer’s ad calls Trump the “greatest threat to our democracy” since bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda who was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011.
“After 9/11, the greatest threat to our democracy lived in a cave,” said Helmer, as a picture of bin Laden appears on the screen.
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“Today, he lives in the White House. No one, even the president, is above the law.”
Helmer is an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s running in a crowded primary for the right to take on Comstock in one of the most competitive districts in the country.
Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman, distanced the Democratic leader from the controversial ad but took aim at Trump’s controversial comments throughout his political career.
“While the Leader does not condone the end of this ad, if the President wants to join in raising the level of civility in politics he should begin with himself,” he said in a statement.
While Hammill did not mention any specifics in the statement, earlier this week, Trump accused Pelosi of being a “lover” of the brutal gang MS-13 during a political rally.
Comstock blasted Helmer for the ad in a statement to The Hill, framing Helmer as a first-time candidate relying on “stunts” to gain traction.
“His campaign is flailing and out of touch with regional issues and concerns. He has been saying this to the applause of his fellow Democrat candidates in order to get attention and major funding from extreme left wing mega-donors like Tom Steyer,” she said.
“It’s an outrageous and offensive thing to say, and beyond the pale. In Congress, we have been standing with President Trump, on a bipartisan basis to strengthen our military, defeat [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS and battle terrorism, and make the world safer.”