Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is turning the speech he delivered on Monday in Pittsburgh — in which he condemned rioting and looting while blaming President Donald Trump for creating a more dangerous country — into a television ad.
“I want to make it absolutely clear: Rioting is not protesting, looting is not protesting,” Biden says at the start of the 60-second ad, which will air on cable news networks nationally and in key swing states. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple, and those who do it should be prosecuted.”
Biden delivered the speech as Trump and Republicans tried to seize the political advantage following protests and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, spurred by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black. Trump has invoked the threat of armed mobs rampaging through the suburbs to scare white voters, whose support he needs to have any hope of catching Biden in the polls.
Biden’s campaign hopes the new ad emphasizes Trump’s history of racist rhetoric and his refusals to condemn violence by his supporters.
“He can’t stop the violence because for years, he’s fomented it,” Biden says in the ad. “His failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows how weak he is.”
The ad ends with Biden promising to use “less divisive” language and quoting Pope John Paul II: “Be not afraid.”
The ad mixes footage of Biden’s speech with images of the damage in Kenosha, of right-wing protesters in Portland, Oregon, and Charlottesville, Virginia, and of Trump standing in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square after using tear gas to clear the area of protesters back in June.
The spot is part of $45 million worth of ad spending — $25 million on television and $20 million on digital platforms — scheduled for this week, the Biden campaign said, a jump from $26 million last week. (The campaign spent just $27 million on advertising during the entire Democratic primary.)
The New York Times reported earlier Tuesday that the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $300 million in August, an amount that would shatter presidential fundraising records.
The ad will air in nine key swing states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Trump campaign is only spending $5 million on television ads this week and is not airing ads in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio or Pennsylvania, according to Kantar/CMAG.
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