Ad launched using audio of children in border detention centers

Ad aims at 'holding Congress accountable'

By DAVID WRIGHT, CNN
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Tom Steyer

(CNN) - A progressive group funded by liberal megadonor Tom Steyer is using the audio of children crying inside a detention center near the US-Mexico border in a new seven-figure ad campaign hammering the Trump administration over the child separation crisis at the border.

The groups behind the ads are the Steyer-funded Need to Impeach and the Latino Victory Fund.

The new ad features audio of children crying for their parents after being separated from them, which was published by ProPublica this week. The audio is played over a black screen with the caption, "What it sounds like in Trump's Child Internment Camps."

"Terrible things happen when you leave a lawless President in power," Steyer narrates over the last 10 seconds of the ad. "Donald Trump is unfit for his office. Call Congress now. If they won't stand up to him, they're just as responsible as he is."

The groups plan to air the spot on CNN, MSNBC and Fox broadcasts during the World Cup, in addition to digital placement, Need to Impeach lead strategist Kevin Mack confirmed in an interview with CNN. The ad campaign was first reported by Politico.

Mack told CNN that "the point of this ad is about holding Congress accountable."

"Will Congress step in and stop Trump from interning people on American soil? Do they have the courage to stand up and do what's right?" he said. "The President doesn't respect the law, he's a bad person and this policy is a manifestation of him as an individual."

Mack also dismissed Trump's executive order issued Wednesday, which is intended to keep more families together at the border. "Yesterday Trump was putting children in internment camps, and today he's putting families in internment camps. We think both things are wrong," Mack responded.

He said that whatever the legislative solution ends up looking like, "it should not be dependent on funding for other political priorities," such as Trump's long-sought border wall.

Mack linked the child separation crisis to the case for impeachment, noting that impeachment is a "political process" and the border controversy was a "perfect example of why (Trump) should not be President."

The current "Congress is not going to impeach," Mack said, adding that "in a lot of ways, people elected in November will be the jury pool for impeaching Trump."

Steyer has been among the most active liberal megadonors in the Trump era, airing waves of ads calling for the President's impeachment and pledging millions to support Democratic candidates. One of Steyer's other advocacy groups, NextGen America, spent $350,000 on get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of a slate of US House primaries in California earlier this month that were seen as key to Democrats' chances at recapturing the majority.

In a statement, Cristobal Alex, president of Latino Victory Project, which is affiliated with the Latino Victory Fund, said the goal of the ads is to hold congressional Republicans accountable.

"With this ad, we are shining a light on congressional Republicans' refusal to act as a check on President Trump's inhumane policies and urging their constituents to hold them accountable," Alex said. "This manufactured humanitarian crisis isn't over, and we have responsibility to ensure that these children's cries are at the front of voters' minds this November."

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