Donald Trump Threatens Ridiculous Defamation Lawsuit Over Attack Ad
from the slappity-slapp-slapp dept
Donald Trump may be running for President, but apparently his notoriously thin-skinned approach (along with the quick legal trigger) to handling criticism has not yet gone away. Trump has been fighting with the conservative group Club for Growth for some time, and it put out something of an attack ad against him noting, among other things, that Trump has supported raising taxes (a huge no-no for the Club for Growth) among other things.
Simply stated, your Attack Ad is not only completely disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false, defamatory and destructive statements and downright fabrications which you fully know to be untrue, thereby exposing you and your so-called “club” to liability for damages and other tortious harm. For example, while your Attack Ad blatantly misrepresents to the public that Mr. Trump “supports higher taxes”, nothing could be further from the truth. To be clear, Mr. Trump’s tax plan, which is scheduled to be released later this week, supports a lowering of taxes.
Not surprisingly, a closer look at your Attack Ad reveals that your supposed “source” for this statement is — according to the small print on your website — nothing more than a single article published in the Advocate on February 15, 2000, which quoted Mr. Trump as supposedly saying he would “impose a one-time net worth tax of 14.25% on the superwealthy … to pay off the national debt.” That’s it. While a reputable organization would have at least had the decency to disclose its source — and the fact that the source article is more than 15 years old — your pitiful little grup conveniently chose to leave that information out in a delierate attempt to mislead the public into believing that it is reflective of Mr. Trump’s current position — when unquestionably, it is not. Making matters worse, you then chose to appear on several talk shows, including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, in which you furthered the erroneous notion that Mr. Trump “supports higher taxes” even though you have absolutely no factual support for that statement. In other words, you lied. Mr. Trump does not support higher taxes. This is the very definition of libel.
Actually, it’s not even close to the definition of libel. It’s almost certainly not libel at all.
The letter concludes in usual bluster:
In the event, however, we do not promptly receive these assurances, please be advised that we will commence a multi-million dollar lawsuit against you personally and your organization for your false and defamatory statements and the damage you have intentionally caused in my client’s interests as well as pursue all other remedies available to us at law or in equity.
You’d think that someone running for president would know better than to totally flip his lid over some random attack ad. You’d think that his lawyer would (1) know that this is not defamation and that (2) threatening as such only gives the original ad much more attention. Trump, as a very public figure, would need to show that the information in the ad was not just false, but that Club for Growth knew it was false and deliberately posted such false information to harm Trump. That’s not going to happen, not in the least because there’s plenty of evidence to support the claims that Trump has advocated (recently) for higher taxes. The Federalist provides a list of some recent articles:
ABC (Aug. 6): Donald Trump Once Proposed the Biggest Tax Hike Ever
Bloomberg (Aug. 26): Donald Trump says he wants to raise taxes on himself
CNN (Aug. 27): Donald Trump: Tax the rich more
New York Times (Aug. 31): Increase taxes? Talk by Donald Trump alarms G.O.P.
International Business Times (Sept. 8): Elizabeth Warren Praises Donald Trump Tax Plan
Yeah, good luck with that “very definition of libel” thing.
Club for Growth seemed to take the whole thing in stride, tweeting out the following reply: