President Trump’s re-election campaign launched its most harshest campaign attack ad of the 2020 election, counter-programming the Democratic National Convention to bring attention to the Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden’s mental acuity that has severely declined over the past four to five years.
The nearly two-minute digital ad titled “What Happened to Joe Biden?” features splice footages of Biden during his tenure as Vice President in 2015 and 2016 coherent and energetic alongside clips of present-day 2020 Biden showing him losing his train of thoughts midway through a sentence during campaign interviews.
“Did something happen to Joe Biden?” the opening text flashes across the screen that shifts to 2015 Biden saying in a speech that “he went and became president, I didn’t go and I’m still vice president” to Biden in late March attempting to give a coronavirus briefing from his basement. In the slip up, Biden seemingly lost track of his teleprompter, which left him appearing extremely confused as he frantically waved his hand below the podium while repeating “in addition to that.”
In the 2016 clip where Biden is on the campaign trail giving an enthusiastic speech for President Trump former 2016 rival Hillary Clinton before proceeded to the contrasting video of the Democratic nominee rambling and struggling for word during a live televised CNN coronavirus town hall when asked for his response plan to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You know there’s a, during World War II, uh, you know, Roosevelt came up with a thing that, uh, you know, was totally different than a, than the, he called it a, you know…” Biden said in the April CNN clip.
The Trump campaign said the “high seven figures” digital advertising buy will take over the internet during the Democrat’s biggest week. It secured YouTube homepage masthead banner for 96 hours starting on the second day of the Democratic Convention, as well as plastering the home pages of The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Fox News with Trump campaign banner ads. As for viewers not interested in watching the convention, the Trump campaign has also secured ad placement on non-DNC video streaming services with “unskippable” videos ad, forcing users to watch the entire campaign ad before returning to their chosen TV or movie video.
Trump campaign officials said they were able to grab the digital slots because Democrats never purchased the premium real estate internet ads neither during its original week in July nor when they moved the dates to August.
“It’s great that Team Biden let the Trump campaign grab up the best premium real estate on the internet during Joe’s big week,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “We’ll show millions of Americans exactly how the radical, leftist takeover of Joe Biden is now complete.”
According to Axios, the Trump campaign was divided about attacking Biden over his mental faculties with some arguing the ad would backfire and could alienate seniors. However, a senior campaign official noted its data that showed voters are “concerned” about Biden’s “ability to do the job” as an important reason to showcase the Democratic nominee “qualifications and fitness to be president.”
“It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but voters deserve to be able to assess Joe Biden’s capabilities by seeing him and listening to him in his own words, especially as compared to just a few years ago,” Murtaugh said. “Being president of the most powerful nation in the world carries the heavy responsibilities of navigating dangerous situations around the globe in real time and keeping track of weighty domestic issues.”
President Trump regularly questions the former vice president’s cognitive decline, emphasized Biden’s blunders and verbal gaffes as evidence he is mentally unfit to deal with the challenges as commander-in-chief. Last month in an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Trump challenged Biden to take the test so they can compare the results between the two.
The Trump campaign has been gradually ramping up the president’s attack in a form of campaign ad messaging to showcase the cognitive decline of Biden’s mental fitness. Earlier this month, the campaign released its first ad describing Biden as “diminished” followed by another ad 24 hours later suggesting a mental “decline” was the reason he hasn’t taken a cognitive test.
By early Wednesday afternoon, the video which was first published on Saturday has already racked up more than 6.3 million views.
A Biden campaign spokesman responded to the Trump campaign’s ad, saying Trump is simply trying to distract voters mentioning “this subject” away from the failure of his handling to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Donald Trump is spectacularly failing every conceivable strategic test by ramping up mentions of this subject at all,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Joe Biden sounded the alarm about the outbreak early, whereas Donald Trump is still promising us the virus will magically ‘disappear.’ Joe Biden has highlighted the advice of medical experts throughout the pandemic, but Donald Trump publicly encouraged COVID-19 victims to inject themselves with disinfectant. Trump has even said that we should nuke hurricanes out over the water. And if that’s not enough for you, ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.’”
The Biden campaign also cited a July Monmouth University poll that showed 52 percent of Americans believe Biden is mentally and physically up to the job of president, compared to 45 percent who said the same for Trump.
However, the same July poll found that Democrats are less confident about Biden’s stamina with only 47 percent of Democrats expressing confidence, compared to 72 percent of Republicans saying they are very confident about Trump’s stamina.