A Political Action Committee funded by Marlene Ricketts, the matriarch of the family who owns the Chicago Cubs, has started airing attack ads against Donald Trump in the lead-up to the March 15 presidential primary.
Our Principles PAC, which has received $3 million from Ricketts, released ads Wednesday attacking Trump for his policies on race and his ill-fated Trump University.
Last month, Trump went after the Ricketts in a tweet accusing the family of donating money to campaigns to prevent him from winning the nomination.
“I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending [money] against me,” Trump tweeted. “They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”
The tweet was in response to Ricketts’ donation to the Our Principles PAC.
Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts responded to Trump’s claims during a press conference in Arizona last week.
“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” Ricketts told reporters. “The fact is, whether it’s my mom or my dad on his Ending Spending stuff or my sister on marriage equality or my brothers and what they do or what we do with the team, we’re pretty much an open book.”
“We stand up for what we believe in. That’s what America should be,” he added.
An Our Principles PAC web ad released Wednesday, titled “Unelectable,” criticizes Trump’s racial policies and features David Letterman saying, “I flat-out called [Trump] a racist.”
In the ad, Trump defends his relationship with African-Americans.
“I have a great relationship with the blacks,” Trump says in the ad. “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”
The ad then features a clip of journalist Karen Hunter dispelling this claim.
“He does not have a great relationship with ‘the blacks’ and you can ask five kids from New York City during the Central Park jogger rapist trial when Donald Trump took out a full page ad calling for the death penalty,” Hunter said. “He wanted to kill these kids and it turned out that they were innocent.”
The Central Park 5, comprised of four black juveniles and one hispanic juvenile, were wrongfully convicted of a 1989 rape that took place in New York’s Central Park.
The defendants spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before another man confessed to the rape. His confession was confirmed by DNA evidence.
“Bring back the death penalty,” Trump’s ad, which ran in a May 1989 edition of the New York Daily News, read.
The New York Times called the case, “one of the most widely publicized crimes of the 1980s.”
The Our Principles PAC web ad also references a 1973 Justice Department lawsuit filed against Trump for racial discrimination. The lawsuit accused Trump and his father of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
In 1975, the two sides signed an agreement that prohibited the Trumps from “discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling.”
The Trumps claimed the settlement was “in no way an admission” of a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Nonetheless, the Justice Department declared victory in the case.
The ad also features former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard pledging his support to Trump.
“Running against Donald Trump, at this point, is really treason to your heritage,” Duke is quoted as saying on his radio program. “I do support his candidacy and I support voting for him.”
The ad then shows Trump denying having any involvement with Duke.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay,” Trump said. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”
A separate ad titled “Scam”, also paid for by the Our Principles PAC and released Wednesday, will run on national television as well as in Illinois, Florida and Michigan.
The ad calls into question the Republican frontrunner’s now closed Trump University.
“Former students say Trump University was a scam, costing up to $35,000 for an unlicensed, illegal school that offered no actual degrees,” the ad says.
A New York appeals court reintroduced a fraud claim Tuesday that was originally brought against Trump University by the state’s attorney general.
In 2013, a $40 million lawsuit was filed against Trump and the school by Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The suit seeks restitution and damages for over 5,000 students from across America. Some students paid up to $35,000 to attend the school.
The ad claims “Trump is facing massive lawsuits for fraud.”
Trump changed the school’s name to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative before it closed in 2010.
“Donald Trump made millions while hardworking Americans got scammed,” the ad says.
Trump had an impressive showing on Super Tuesday, winning Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. He currently leads the Republican field with 319 pledged delegates.
Illinois’ Republican primary will take place on March 15.