Columbia, South Carolina — A robocall dialed out to thousands of Republicans in South Carolina on Friday night suggested Donald Trump would advance “equality” for gays and lesbians by enacting a slew of new government regulations that would lead to “tearing down our America.”
Just hours before polls opened for the GOP’s presidential primary in the state, the robocall — paid for by the pro-Cruz super PAC Courageous Conservatives — went out to 180,000 likely Republican voters in the state.
In the call, which was obtained by NBC News, a woman is heard asking whether “President Trump” would “look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians.”
Trump can he heard responding, “Well you can. That’s your thing. And other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together.”
The narrator of the ad then asks, “What is he agreeing to?”
The ad lists the predicted repercussions of the “forward motion” that Trump seemed to agree to.
“It’s about mandatory celebration,” the narrator says. “It’s about forcing people to bake cakes and photograph gay weddings, forcing clergy to officiate, about transgender bathrooms in your child’s school. It’s about tearing down our Judeo-Christian values.”
The ad then sharply states: “It’s about tearing down our America. Ted Cruz for president – now, before it’s too late.”
Rick Shaftan, who runs the super PAC, has spoken provocatively before, questioning Sen. Cory Booker’s sexuality in 2013 during the then-mayor’s run for the U.S. Senate as part of an interview with Talking Points Memo.
At the time, Shaftan was a top aide to Booker’s Republican opponent Steve Lonegan. Shaftan was soon let go because of his remarks.
But Shaftan’s pro-Cruz super PAC has been on radio airwaves for months, and it sent out a separate robocall on Thursday night as well, attacking Trump for his support of the removal of the Confederate flag from the state’s capitol grounds.
Shaftan told NBC News on Friday that the robocalls are not a “dirty trick” because their content is now public and the ads use Trump’s own words.