Biden’s campaign pledged Friday to take down all negative ads against Trump as the president battled the coronavirus, but TV spots criticizing the president were still running Saturday as the president was hospitalized.
“Despite pledging to stop his negative advertising, nearly 100 negative Biden ads slandering the president and lying about his record have aired today while the president is at Walter Reed,” Andrew Clark, Trump 2020 Campaign rapid response director, told Fox News on Saturday. “Meanwhile, Joe Biden has continued to attack the president in his speeches.”
“Despite pledging to stop his negative advertising, nearly 100 negative Biden ads slandering the president and lying about his record have aired today.”
— Andrew Clark, Trump 2020 Campaign
Biden’s campaign said it’s not as easy as flipping a switch to pull down all negative ads nationwide across hundreds of TV stations. It may take a day or so for the ads to be fully removed from the rotation, but Biden is committed to doing so, the campaign added.
Another issue is one of those ads running Saturday wasn’t deemed negative by the Biden campaign, but rather factual.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden arrives at a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Mich., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (Associated Press)
“Vice President Biden and our entire campaign are praying for President Trump and the First Lady to make a full recovery as soon as possible,” Biden campaign national press secretary T.J. Ducklo told Fox News. “We think it’s inappropriate to use the president’s illness to score political points on our opponent, which is why we unilaterally took down our negative ads.”
Trump announced early Friday that he and the first lady were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Later that day, Biden’s team said the Democrat had pulled negative ads. By Friday evening the president was admitted to the hospital for a course of treatment to fight off the coronavirus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans.
Meanwhile, overnight in Raleigh, N.C., Biden’s ad accusing Trump of planning to wipe out Social Security within three years was still on the air. In Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, Biden was still on the airwaves blasting Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, saying it’s “unforgivable” that Trump “failed to protect America.”
Overnight in Las Vegas on Saturday, a Biden ad aired that hit Trump on his “tax cut giveaway” and declared “Donald Trump is lying again” about Biden’s tax proposal.
The Biden campaign says these ads are down or in the process of coming down as it can take at least 24 hours to pull an ad from rotation.
And in many media markets Saturday, including Manchester, N.H.; Orlando, Fla.; and Minneapolis, Biden is airing an ad that talks about how health care is personal to him in the context of the auto crash in 1972 that killed his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi, as well as his son Beau’s death from cancer in 2015.
“When I see the president of the United States try to eliminate this health care in the middle of a public health crisis, that’s personal to me too,” Biden says in the ad.
This ad will remain up because it is biographic about Biden’s family story and its hit on Trump for trying to “eliminate” health care coverage is a reference to the Trump administration seeking to overturn the Obama-era Affordable Care Act in a case scheduled to come before the Supreme Court on Nov. 10 — just a week after the election.
President Trump waves to members of the media as he leaves the White House to go to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after he tested positive for COVID-19 in Washington, Oct. 2, 2020. (Associated Press)
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has not made any pledge to take down negative ads against Biden as the former vice president continues to campaign. Trump’s team is still running ads against Biden, including one accusing the Democratic presidential nominee of not having the backs of police officers. The campaign also sent out a fundraising email Friday slamming “Sleepy Joe,” saying he was “probably already asleep in his basement.”
The Trump campaign argued it won’t pull negative ads because Biden is still talking negatively on the campaign trail about Trump. “He’s in no position to say anything,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director, said Friday.
“The Biden campaign tried to trick reporters into thinking they’re the ‘good guys’ … They lied to the media and got caught.”
— Andrew Clark, Trump 2020 Campaign
On the campaign trail Saturday, Biden said he was “in a little bit of a spot here” because he didn’t want to attack the president and first lady, but went on to criticize Trump’s response to the pandemic as “unconscionable” and blasted Trump’s “It is what it is” remark about the death toll.
“I find this one of the most despicable things that I’ve encountered in my whole career,” Biden said.
The Trump campaign’s Clark argued it’s not true that Biden has stopped the negativity.
“The Biden campaign tried to trick reporters into thinking they’re the ‘good guys’ and score some good headlines and tweets while doing nothing to tone down their viciousness,” Clark said. “They lied to the media and got caught.”
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.