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Donald Trump and David Jolly shake hands in this Photoshopped photo from the DCCC's ad. Donald Trump and David Jolly shake hands in this Photoshopped photo from the DCCC's ad.

Donald Trump and David Jolly shake hands in this Photoshopped photo from the DCCC's ad.

Allison Graves
By Allison Graves October 24, 2016

Bizarre campaign ad wrongly ties Trump and David Jolly together on abortion

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a bizarre ad in October warning that a vote for Congressman David Jolly in the 13th Congressional District is a vote for Donald Trump's right-hand man.

The ad ties Jolly and Trump together through photoshopped images and shared views on opposing abortion rights and defunding Planned Parenthood.

"Just like Donald Trump, David Jolly wants to outlaw a woman's right to choose," says the narrator in the ad.

This remark stood out to us, so we wanted to take a look at each man’s view on abortions. Moreover, the goal of the ad and its methods have been widely criticized, so we’ll examine the relationship between Trump and Jolly.

The evidence linking Trump and Jolly’s stances on abortion is hard to pinpoint, given the fact both have talked about abortion in different ways. What’s not hard to pinpoint is the relationship between Trump and Jolly, which just doesn’t exist. Jolly has never met Trump, nor is he supporting him for president.

Trump and Jolly on abortion

Trump and Jolly are are on the same side of the abortion spectrum, but their views are hard to lump together as one and the same.

Jolly’s campaign told PolitiFact Florida he calls himself pro-life, but has never supported or voted to outlaw abortion entirely.

At the congressional debate on Sept. 19, Jolly was asked if it's right for a woman to abort her baby if she finds out she has Zika in the early stages of pregnancy.

Jolly responded: "I think that is her choice, but for the health of the mother or the health of the baby, or the life of the mother, I think there should be exceptions permitted to terminate the pregnancy. Yes, I do."

There are other exceptions Jolly embraces, too, including instances of rape or incest.

Jolly may say he doesn’t support outlawing abortion, but what does his voting record say?

The DCCC points to the "Life at Conception Act" (H.R. 1091) that Jolly co-sponsored in 2014. This act would give a fetus the same rights as a human beings from the moment of fertilization.

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This is clearly an anti-abortion rights bill, but as PolitiFact concluded in 2014, there’s a lot of murkiness that courts would have to sort through before it would be clear if abortion would be outlawed.

Whether or not Trump wants to outlaw abortion is hard to determine.

In March, Trump stated women should be punished for having an abortion. (You can read the whole remark in context here.) But he backed off saying women should specifically be punished to stating general opposition to abortion.  

"If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman," the Trump statement says. "The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions."

Recently at the third presidential debate, Trump was asked if he wants the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which would essentially dissolve a woman’s right to abortions.  

Trump said: "Well, if that would happen, because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that will go back to the individual states."

Jolly does not support Trump

This ad has been highly criticized for its bogus images showing Trump and Jolly photoshopped together. Like the claim, the ad attempts to paint Trump and Jolly as one in the same — and allies if both Jolly and Trump win.

This association is not accurate.

At the congressional debate, Jolly said he doesn’t support Trump and told the Tampa Bay Times he never met him. Jolly’s spokesperson reiterated that point to PolitiFact Florida on Oct. 20 and said Jolly will not be supporting Trump in this election.

Jolly called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race in December after Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims. At the time of the press release, Jolly was running for Marco Rubio’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

"While ISIS is beheading innocent people for their religious practices, Trump is betraying our freedoms," Jolly said in a statement. "His brutal, bullying bigotry runs contrary to the very principles our forefathers fought so hard to defend. We are either a party of protecting the constitution and religious liberties or we're not. America should insist on a security test but never a religious test."

Our ruling

An ad from the DCCC said, "Just like Donald Trump, David Jolly wants to outlaw a woman's right to choose."

Trump and Jolly both favor restrictions on abortion, but their views cannot be directly equated to outlawing all instances of abortion. Moreover, the claim, and the overall theme of the ad — that Jolly would be an ally to Trump — is highly misleading. Jolly does not support Trump.

We rate the DCCC’s claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Email interview, Jermaine House, spokesperson for the DCCC, Oct. 18

Interview, David Jolly spokesperson, Oct. 20-22

Tampa Bay Times, "David Jolly blasts 'false' Democratic ad tying Republican congressman to Donald Trump," Oct. 12, 2016

CNN, "Trump reverses statement on women and abortion after outcry," March 31, 2016


David Jolly website, David Jolly calls on Donald Trump to end presidential bid, Dec. 8, 2015

Donald J. Trump website, Donald J. Trump statement regarding abortion, March 30, 2016

PolitiFact, "Democratic group claims Cory Gardner backs bill to 'ban all abortions'," Aug. 28, 2014

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More by Allison Graves

Bizarre campaign ad wrongly ties Trump and David Jolly together on abortion

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