Veterans’ group VoteVets has released a new attack ad that criticises president Donald Trump over reports that he was briefed about Russia putting bounties on American military personnel in Afghanistan and failed to act.
The group, whose Twitter description states “blocked by Donald Trump”, has compared the president to Benedict Arnold, who infamously defected from the US Continental Army to the British side in the Revolutionary War.
VoteVets published the video to Twitter on 3 July, the day before the US’s Independence Day, an annual celebration of the country’s Declaration of Independence from Britain.
— VoteVets (@votevets)
“For the 244 years since we declared our independence, one name has stood as the very definition of the word traitor to the US military,” the video’s narrator said.
“Benedict Arnold sold out our troops during our fight for freedom. He tried to sell West Point to the enemy, before defecting to the other side.”
The narrator adds: “No one has betrayed those in uniform like Donald Trump.”
The narrator of the VoteVets video adds: “He consorts with a foreign enemy, puts bounties on the heads of American troops. He takes the word of Putin over the best American military intelligence.”
It was reported earlier this week that the White House withheld evidence of Russian bounties on American soldiers from Republican representatives.
A report from The New York Times on Tuesday alleged that American officials had intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account that corroborated the initial bounty intelligence.
Despite a denial from the Pentagon that Mr Trump knew about the bounties – which he himself has called a "hoax" – Los Angeles Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman said: “Two officials confirm Trump was briefed. In a different time, we’d be talking impeachment.”
The narrator adds: “To Donald Trump, Russian bounties on American troops is just another hoax. This July 4th Benedict Arnold can step aside ... because Benedict Donald is America’s number one traitor.”
The ad is the second this week that has criticised the president’s role in the bounties, after Republican super PAC The Lincoln Project released one on Wednesday.