Naples Republican Byron Donalds dismissed attacks by a newly formed super PAC as dishonest representations and “flat-out lies.”
“They can’t beat me on my proven conservative record, so they resort to dirty political tricks of pulling clips from 2011 without properly citing them and using them out of context in an intentionally misleading fashion,” Donalds said.
He referenced advertisements that went on air Thursday, funded by Honesty America. The advertisements include old Donalds’ social media posts read by a voice impersonator, all criticizing President Donald Trump.
But the posts far predate Trump’s entry into politics, and Donalds campaign says he was criticizing President Barack Obama at the time. Donalds said rather than posts about Trump, the comments were part of a Facebook conversation with his own sister.
The advertisements also spotlight Donalds’ criminal history, with arrests in 1997 and 2000. Donalds said he hasn’t shied from that part of his background.
“I’ve never hidden from the decades-old darker chapters of my story of redemption and the power of the American Dream,” he said. “They are part of my testimony to the power of God and hard work to transform lives.”
The footage also shows images of Donalds campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012, then the Republican nominee for President now a “disappointment,” Donalds said.
He also addresses supportive comments about another Republican Trump critic, Carly Fiorina. Donalds said those date back to 2015, and he said her candidacy for President at the time was worth discussion as many wondered if the party should have a female nominee to run against Hillary Clinton.
Donalds’ campaign attributed the ads to Casey Askar, one of his opponents in the Republican primary in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. A release says the funding comes as no surprise but that “all Askar’s money can’t buy votes compared to Donalds solid conservative record.”
Honesty America formed in April. with David Satterfield of Alexandria, Virginia, as the treasurer and Matt Pusateri as a registered agent. Pusateri previously worked for U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, who announced last year he’s not seeking re-election. Other former Rooney staffers are now working for businessman Casey Askar‘s campaign.
“This ad is in response to my strong support for President Trump and his positive comments about my ‘tremendous future’ as seen in our current TV commercial,” Donalds said.
“President Trump knows I’m a proven conservative who will absolutely continue to stand with him against the radical left. The mention of the decades old criminal charges is a low blow but I’ve never hidden from that part of my story of redemption and the American Dream. Through Christ and hard work a troubled young man can become a successful and trusted financial professional who proudly backs the blue.”