Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is the focal point of a new national television ad being released Tuesday, hours ahead of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In the one-and-a-half minute long anti-Trump ad, Sullenberger, notable for his successful emergency landing on the Hudson in 2009, narrates his experience and has one main message: “Vote him out.”
The ad, which is co-sponsored by VoteVets and the Lincoln Project, costs $200,000 and will be running throughout the day on national cable into Tuesday night’s debate.
The commercial leads with Sullenberger walking into an air bunker, saying “Leadership is not just about sitting in a pilot’s seat. It’s about knowing what you’re doing, and taking responsibility for it. Being prepared, ready and able to handle anything that might come your way.”
Sullenberger goes on to say that he has been flying over America for 53 years, “years of flights you’ve never heard about, and one that you’ve heard everything about.”
The tone changes as the commercial flashes back to that Hudson river landing.
“My whole life prepared me for this moment,” Sullenberger said after discussing his service as an Air Force officer and fighter pilot.
“I knew that serving a cause greater than one’s self is the highest calling. And it’s in that highest calling of leadership that Donald Trump has failed us so miserably. Now, it’s up to us to overcome his attacks on our very democracy,” Sullenberger says. “Eleven years ago, I was called to my moment. Now, we are all called to this moment.”
In the ad, Sullenberger also touches on the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing that Americans must vote on behalf of the quarter million who will have died of COVID-19 by Election Day.
“When you look down at our beautiful, boundless country, you don’t see political divisions. It reminds us of who we are and what we can be. That we are in control of this nation’s destiny,” Sullenberger says as the commercial concludes. “All we have to do is vote him out.”
The Lincoln Project, which co-sponsored the ad, is a political action committee formed in late 2019 by several current and former Republicans. The committee was formed to prevent Trump’s reelection and defeat his supporters in the U.S. Senate.
“Captain Sullenberger is the living embodiment of American leadership, courage and cool under pressure,” said Fred Wellman, senior advisor for veterans affairs with The Lincoln Project. “His lifetime of service that culminated in the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ where he saved 155 lives through his skill and competence represents everything Donald Trump is not.”
Fox News host Chris Wallace is moderating the debate Tuesday night. It will run 90 minutes without commercial breaks, and cover Trump and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in our cities and the integrity of the election, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.