A group of prominent anti-Trump Republicans on Monday tore into U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in a scathing digital ad, calling the Colorado Republican "a small man frightened of a political bully."
The video targeting Gardner was produced by the Lincoln Project, a super PAC formed last month by conservative critics of President Donald Trump and his congressional "enablers."
"The only thing you'll fight for is Trump. You're just another Trump servant — weak, frightened, impotent, a small man frightened of a political bully," the video says as footage of Trump promising to campaign for Gardner fills the screen.
"So scared of his tweets you’ll do anything Trump orders: blocking witnesses, stonewalling to keep Trump’s corruption secret, breaking your oath to follow the Constitution and the law, putting Trump over Colorado every time."
The two-minute video lands the day before House Democrats plan to send articles of impeachment to the Republican-dominated Senate, where Gardner is among a small number of GOP senators who could determine whether his colleagues hear from witnesses or the trial is concluded with a quick dismissal.
Gardner is pegged as the most vulnerable Republican senator on the ballot this year, a status taunted in the ad.
"Hey, Cory Gardner," the video's narrator says, "ask yourself, why are you losing? Why do the polls show you headed for humiliating defeat in November? Because Colorado trusted you to work for us, not Donald Trump."
“Cory Gardner is a prime example of the kind of weakness that Republicans show in the face of Donald Trump,” said Lincoln Project spokeswoman Jennifer Horn, a former chairman of the New Hampshire GOP, in a statement. “As he faces an uphill battle for re-election this year, Sen. Gardner has shown he’s willing to put the president before the Constitution and his responsibility to the people of Colorado.”
Horn told Colorado Politics the PAC was paying for a "targeted digital ad buy in Colorado" to put the video in front of voters, adding: "Our mission is a simple one — defeat Trumpism at the ballot box. That means exposing those elected Republicans who have placed protecting a corrupt president above their oath of office. Anyone who will not defend the Constitution does not belong in elected office."
By early afternoon Monday, the video had been viewed more than 450,000 times on Twitter.
A spokesman for Gardner's campaign didn't respond to a request for comment from Colorado Politics. Last week, Gardner's Senate office didn't respond to questions about Gardner's position on impeachment proceedings.
The Lincoln Project's advisory board includes national strategists Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Mike Madrid, media consultant Rick Wilson, and outspoken anti-Trump attorney George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
"Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet," wrote Conway, Schmidt, Weaver and Wilson in a recent New York Times op-ed.
The group said they'll work to "persuad[e] enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College and majorities that don’t enable and abet Trump's violations of the Constitution; even if that means Democrat control of the Senate and expansion of the Democratic majority in the House."
Conway ripped Gardner on Twitter Monday, quoting from a 2014 ad the Republican ran when he was running against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.
"When he ran for the Senate six years ago, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) promised that 'when my party is wrong, I’ll say it,'" Conway tweeted. "Now @SenCoryGardner is so scared of @realDonaldTrump, he won’t even say it’s wrong for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival."
The video targeting Gardner is the second digital ad released by the group, following a video posted last week aimed at evangelical Christians that intercuts Trump's statements with religious leaders lavishing praise on the president.
The PAC's treasurer said in December that the group raised $400,000 in its first week from more than 5,000 individual donors.