Lincoln Project Asks Republicans If They're On the Side of 'Freedom or Autocracy'

The latest advertisement from The Lincoln Project frames U.S. politics as a battle between "freedom and autocracy."

The ad released Monday features patriotic images from history juxtaposed with footage of the deadly storming of the U.S Capitol on January 6, characterizing the response to the incident as the current generation's defining call to "defend and renew the promise of America."

The Lincoln Project is a political action committee comprised largely of former Republicans who worked to defeat former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

"America is the only country founded on an idea," a narrator says in the ad as a U.S. flag is raised. "The radical idea that citizens could govern themselves. It was called the American experiment because there was no reason to believe it could work. A republic if you could keep it. Every generation has been called to defend and renew the promise of America. For some it was on the battlefield, for other it was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge."

"Now, the battle has come to the steps of the Capitol itself," continues the narrator as images from the Capitol riot are shown. "Democracy is under assault like no time since 1860. We have a choice: look away or stand up and fight. It's not about conservative or liberal. It's about freedom versus autocracy. We didn't choose this moment, but history has chosen us. Which side are you on?"

An idea called America

— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) April 19, 2021

Newsweek reached out to the Republican National Committee for comment.

The Lincoln Project has released multiple ads focusing on Trump and the Capitol riot in the more than three months since it took place.

Last week, the group released an ad marking 100 days since the violent incident, alongside a comment that "until the infection that brought insurrection to our Capitol is removed, it's always January 6th, 2021."

An ad released last month described current Republicans as "anti-democratic autocrats" who "believe an election is only legitimate if they win."

The group has been plagued by scandals in recent months, with multiple founding members having resigned from the Lincoln Project since it was founded in late 2019.

Some former key figures are now calling on the group to cease operations. Sexual harassment allegations against co-founder John Weaver, who stepped down last summer following a heart attack, prompted the resignation of co-founder Jennifer Horn and multiple advisers.

Further scandals have erupted over the financing of the Lincoln Project. Only $27 million out of around $90 million that the group raised was spent on ads, while more than half of the total was diverted to consulting firms run by members of the group.

Co-founder George Conway, husband of former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, tweeted last month that the organization "should shut down, absent full disclosure of its finances." Conway resigned from the Lincoln Project last August

Lincoln Project Freedom or Autocrat Ad Republicans
A man holds a campaign flag for former President Donald Trump outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty