A new video ad produced by the Republican National Committee takes aim at Democrats who remained seated last week during President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.
The 80-second spot is comprised of several clips from that speech juxtaposed with images of members of the minority party in Congress opting not to stand and clap.
Without any additional narration, the commercial provides several examples of behavior by Democrats that Trump himself declared “treasonous” in a speech he delivered earlier this week.
The video ends on a black screen with a question for those lawmakers who sat through the speech.
“Democrats: What do you stand for?” the caption read.
“We proudly stand for the national anthem,” Trump said in the passage used to open the partisan advertisement.
That statement, along with those that followed, were met with stone-faced reactions by Democratic leaders including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Trump went on to tout what he claimed to be some of his biggest accomplishments of his first year in office, including “serving our brave veterans,” bringing down “African-American unemployment,” and enacting “the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.” Each of those remarks was met with enthusiastic responses from many Republicans in the chamber.
In the edited advertisement, however, the reaction was significantly more subdued on the other side of the aisle.
While presidents have typically received heartier applause from members of their own party, some in the GOP — including Trump — have argued there was something more sinister at work in motivating Democrats to remain seated during the recent State of the Union address.
In a speech he delivered on Monday in Cincinnati, Ohio, Trump attacked Democrats who did not stand for and applaud during the address.
“They were like death and un-American,” he said. “Un-American.”
Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric further when he suggested those who remained seated were guilty of a serious crime.
“Somebody said treasonous,” he said. “I mean, yeah, I guess why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much.”
His allegations almost immediately elicited anger from numerous Democrats and a few Republicans.
According to reports, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley attempted to explain the controversy by insisting Trump’s comments were intended to be “tongue in cheek.”
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