The well-funded group that tried to launch a convention floor coup against Donald Trump, in order to hand Ted Cruz the Republican nomination, is now one of Trump’s biggest advertising allies.
The Long, Strange Trip of a Donald Trump Super PAC
Keep the Promise 1, one of Ted Cruz’s biggest super PACs during the 2016 primary, was financed heavily from billionaire hedge fund manager and key Breitbart investor Robert Mercer. In April 2016, Keep the Promise 1 started “Plan B+” – a strategy to target unbound and pledged delegates to get behind Cruz, in an effort to steal the nomination from Trump.
That effort of course failed, and once Cruz dropped out of the race, Mercer jumped the Cruz ship and got on board the Trump train. He filed with the FEC to rename Keep the Promise 1 to “Make America Number 1” PAC, and colloquially the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” PAC. Soon after, the PAC began cutting anti-Clinton attack ads on behalf of Trump.
Mercer’s help in the Trump campaign didn’t come without a price. His daughter was one of the chief architects behind Trump’s August campaign shakeup – which put longtime Mercer allies Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon right in the top echelon of the Trump campaign.
Make America Number 1 PAC couldn’t have come to Trump’s aid at a better time. He is currently being outspent hand over fist by the Clinton campaign – which means many voters are only hearing one narrative on the airwaves: Clinton’s. That’s particularly bad for Trump considering he is suffering from the fallout of a leaked 2005 video where he is shown making misogynistic comments about groping women.
To make matters worse, allegations are starting to arise that Trump’s talk about inappropriately grabbing women was more than just “locker room talk,” and that many times he acted on those words. Trump has of course forcefully denied those allegations, saying he was the victim of a vast “conspiracy.” Let that irony sink in.
But the Make America Number 1 PAC is still trying to step up for Trump – releasing ads that claim Clinton is actually worse for women than Trump is, or trying to make the case that this election is less about electing Donald Trump, and more about not electing Hillary Clinton. A few ads from the PAC focus specifically on not letting the Supreme Court fall into liberal hands. One ad, “Unrecognizable” even says that Hillary Clinton not only wants to put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court, but also wants to “destroy” the First and Second Amendments. Whatever that means.