Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who became a national hero after saving a plane full of passengers during the "Miracle on the Hudson," is calling on Americans to vote Donald Trump out of office.
The retired pilot stars in a stirring ad released Tuesday in partnership with The Lincoln Project and Vote Vets. In it, Mr Sullenberger reflects on the moment he was called to action 11 years ago, when he made an emergency landing on New York's Hudson River that saved the lives of all 155 people on board.
"Eleven years ago, I was called to my moment. Now, we are all called to this moment," Mr Sullenberger says in the ad, which hit social media and national cable networks just hours before the first presidential debate on Tuesday.
The ad underscores both Mr Sullenberger and his father's history in the armed forces, with the pilot musing, "From my service as an Air Force officer and a fighter pilot, I knew that serving a cause greater than one's self is the highest calling. And it's in that highest calling of leadership that Donald Trump has failed us so miserably."
He goes on to nod at the more than 205,000 Americans who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying, "Now, it's up to us to overcome [Trump's] attacks on our very democracy. Knowing nearly a quarter million Americans won't have a voice — casualties of his lethal lies and incompetence."
While he doesn't mention Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by name, Mr Sullenberger encourages Americans to cast their votes against Mr Trump. The ad, which has racked up almost 3 million views on Twitter thus far, ends with Mr Sullenberger asking voters to protect democracy and “vote him out.”
"For the first time in American history, a president has repeatedly shown utter and vulgar contempt and disrespect for those who have served and died serving our country," the pilot wrote in early September, reacting to Mr Trump's controversial remarks about veterans.