George Conway group rejects Trump claim of impeachment distraction in coronavirus response

A conservative group working against President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE's reelection that includes George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge Conway group lines up body bags in ad hitting Trump on coronavirus deaths Overnight Defense: Trump to withdraw US from Open Skies Treaty | Pentagon drops ban on recruits who had virus | FBI says Corpus Christi shooting terror-related Former CIA chief: Trump withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty 'is insane' MORE, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway group lines up body bags in ad hitting Trump on coronavirus deaths White House announces deal to cap insulin costs for seniors Juan Williams: Anti-Trump Republicans flex their muscle MORE, on Thursday released a video rejecting Trump’s claim that his impeachment earlier this year distracted him from the impending coronavirus outbreak.

The Lincoln Project's clip, titled “Distracted,” knocked the administration’s slow response to the growing pandemic, which initially began in China and spread across Europe.

“Coronavirus has now killed three times more Americans than 9/11,” a narrator says. “So what’s Donald Trump been up to? Blaming the impeachment hearings for distracting him from preparing for the pandemic."

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At a March 31 press briefing, Trump said the impeachment “probably” took up some of his attention but later insisted that he wouldn’t have acted differently in response to the coronavirus.

“I think I handled it pretty well, but I guess it probably did. I mean, I got impeached. I think you know I certainly devoted a little time to thinking about it, right?” Trump said, referring to his impeachment as a “hoax” perpetrated by House Democrats.

The group's new video notes that Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, in January reportedly warned his White House colleagues about the threat the novel coronavirus posed to the U.S. public in a memo, when Trump was still publicly downplaying the risk.  

Days later, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health emergency.

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“Where was Trump? He wasn’t distracted,” the narrator continues. “He had plenty to do. Like campaign rallies and golfing. In February, the virus spread to Europe. While Italy was shutting down and quarantines were being announced all over the world, Trump played more golf and packed thousands of people together. Sounds safe."

“Trump just didn’t care. He still doesn’t. He was never distracted. And Americans have been paying attention,” the video concludes.

As of Thursday morning, there has been more than 432,438 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 14,808 deaths, according to a database from Johns Hopkins University.

“The President’s dishonest, incompetent, and delusional press conferences have veered into disturbing territory. The President is aware he lacks the competency to deal with this crisis, though he refuses to hold himself accountable. Instead he’d rather place blame for his ineptitude on an irrelevant issue,” Reed Galen, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, said in a statement.

The super PAC, founded by a number of conservatives last year, aims to gather enough disenfranchised Republicans and independents to prevent the reelection of Trump in November.

The conservative organization on Wednesday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign shortly after Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives raise alarm over letting lobbying groups access PPP funds Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE (I-Vt.) suspended his campaign, paving the way for Biden to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

Joe BidenJoe BidenProsecutor investigating whether Tara Reade gave false testimony as expert witness Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally George Floyd's sister says Minneapolis officers should be charged with murder MORE has the experience — in politics, in government and in life — to lead the United States out of our current crisis,” Galen said in a statement. “As America contends with unprecedented loss, we need a leader who can steady our ship of state, bind up our common wounds, and lead us into our next national chapter. Joe Biden has the humanity, empathy and steadiness we need in a national leader.”