Donald Trump's "100 day" campaign ad may have violated a Defense Department law

The $1.5 million campaign ad was up for a few hours, then suddenly taken down.


Charlie May
May 2, 2017 9:20PM (UTC)

On the same day that President Trump's reelection campaign rolled out a new ad to celebrate the so-called accomplishments of the president's first 100 days in office, it was quickly removed by the campaign because it may have violated federal laws that prohibit members of the military from partaking in political advocacy, according to The Daily Beast.

“America has rarely seen such success," the ad says, touting his confirmed Supreme Court nomination, an increase in job creation and his historically massive tax cuts. "America is winning, and President Trump is making America great again."

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The 30-second advertisement also shows a brief scene where Trump is shaking hands with his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster — who appeared in military uniform. After the ad was discreetly taken down, an updated version was posted to the campaign's YouTube account, without the clip of the president and McMaster.

Citing that the clip between the two took place during an official meeting it “is not contrary to law and it does not violate any rules in policy," a senior defense official told The Daily Beast:

Still, the initial version of the ad “seems to violate [the] intent of military policy against members engaging in partisan political activity,” according to former Federal Election Commission general counsel Larry Noble.

Noble also runs the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a watchdog group. Brendan Fischer, CLC’s director of federal programs, added that Pentagon rules “appear to prohibit McMaster from appearing in Trump’s campaign ad [in uniform], assuming he is still on active duty.”

Pentagon rules issued in 2005 prohibit the wearing of a military uniform “during or in connection with furthering political activities...when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity...may be drawn.”

The advertisement also included the words "FAKE NEWS" that filled the screen in red letters over the faces of various news anchors. In a statement, CNN said they refused to play the spot because the ad itself was "fake news."


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Campaign Ads Donald Trump Donald Trump Campaign Lt. Gen. H.r. Mcmaster

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