The Lincoln Project is demanding answers after an ad critical of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 response was pulled off the air moments before the kickoff of a nationally televised football game.
The ad, scheduled to air Saturday during a University of Texas match, ranks Texas among the leading states in the nation for COVID-19 deaths.
With more than 60,000 Texans dead after contracting the virus, the ad further asserts that a COVID-19-only cemetery could stretch 85 miles — from Austin to San Antonio — and would require 3.6 million feet of casket lumber.
“If Gov. Abbott wants to build a new wall, tell him to stop building this one,” the ad says with rolling images of caskets and the border wall. “Abbott’s wall, paid for with 60,475-plus Texans’ lives.”
In a news release, the Lincoln Project said ESPN’s legal team initially cleared the ad to air during the broadcast. But 10 minutes prior to kick-off, the ad was pulled after a “university-made decision.”
“Did Greg Abbott or his allies assert political influence to ensure the advertisement was not broadcast?” the Lincoln Project asked in the news release. “Once again, instead of focusing on the task of keeping Texans safe from the coronavirus pandemic, it appears they’ve focused their time and energy on censoring those that would hold him to account for his failures.”
The Lincoln Project plans to file a public record request with the University of Texas to determine what — if any — involvement the Governor’s Office may have had in the decision.
“We will not be deterred by Gov. Abbott’s radicalism in support of his own political prospects and reelection campaign,” the Lincoln Project added. “We’re not finished with Gov. Abbott.”
Earlier this week, the Lincoln Project released a separate ad charging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the “worst Governor in America.”
Like the ad against Abbott, the Lincoln Project is critical of DeSantis’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More information about the Lincoln Project is available online.