A Democratic Group Is Crashing Trump’s Coronavirus Town Hall With Attack Ads

The ads, aimed at white working-class voters, will air before the Fox News-hosted event on Sunday night.
President Donald Trump speaks on protecting America's seniors from the COVID-19 pandemic in the East Room of the White House on April 30, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks on protecting America's seniors from the COVID-19 pandemic in the East Room of the White House on April 30, 2020.
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

A Democratic super PAC is buying television time around President Donald Trump’s Fox News town hall on Sunday night and is planning to air ads attacking his response to the coronavirus pandemic in key swing states.

American Bridge, which is focused on limiting Trump’s margins among white working-class voters, is airing the 30-second spot in smaller television markets in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The ads feature Trump declaring, “there is so much unnecessary death in this country” while news headlines onscreen outline flaws in the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response and the growing severity of the pandemic. More than 60,000 Americans have died, while more than 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment in recent weeks.

“Donald Trump’s lost time cost lives,” the ad declares.

The Trump administration has spent the past week declaring victory over the pandemic. The president has opted to end his daily coronavirus briefings, and some states are beginning to reopen parts of their economies, even as Democrats and medical professionals note an ongoing shortage of COVID-19 tests and a growing number of cases in many parts of the country.

Trump’s approval rating has slipped since the beginning of the crisis, and public polling shows him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, both nationally and in toss-up states.

The town hall, the Trump administration hopes, will give the president an opportunity to sell his response to the pandemic to an increasingly skeptical public. The two-hour event will feature Trump taking questions from viewers for at least 90 minutes.

American Bridge’s ads are part of the group’s efforts to limit Trump’s advantage among white working-class voters, who backed the president overwhelmingly in 2016 and are a key part of his political base in 2020.

“Sunday evening, voters can count on hearing more lies and whitewashed narratives about Donald Trump’s failed coronavirus response, so it’s only fair that voters get to hear the unadulterated truth,” said American Bridge President Bradley Beychok. “Trump ignored intelligence reports for months and failed to take action, instead choosing to golf and hit the conga line in Mar-a-Lago.”

The ads are airing in places with high populations of white working-class voters, including the Michigan cities of Grand Rapids, Flint, and Traverse City; Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre, Johnstown, and Erie in Pennsylvania; and Green Bay, La Crosse, and Wausau in Wisconsin.

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