A new ad campaign from a pro-Joe Biden super PAC says President Trump’s mantra of “America First” has come to fruition in one arena — COVID-19 illnesses and deaths in the United States.
The ad, dubbed “First,” is set to run in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three battleground states that were key to Mr. Trump’s 2016 electoral win over Hillary Clinton. Priorities USA, an unaffiliated super PAC that supports Biden, said it is spending more than $2 million on the television and online ads for the next two weeks.
“Donald Trump said he would put America first and now he has,” the ominous ad booms as images of stretchers flash across the screen, “The United States leads the world in Coronavirus cases.”
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed more than 50,000 people this weekend, and on Monday night the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases neared one million, according to John Hopkins University.
The ad also highlights the more than 26 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in recent weeks. By Monday evening, more than a million people had filed for unemployment in Michigan as a result of COVID-19, according to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, and more than 1.6 million did so in Pennsylvania, according to the state’s official website. Updated unemployment numbers for Wisconsin were not immediately available on Monday.
The Democratic group pledged to spend $65 million on ads aimed at Mr. Trump and it has already targeted the recent public health response with $10 million, according to the group.
“America should be setting an example and leading on the world stage,” Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil told CBS News in a statement. “But instead, Donald Trump is failing us and now we are first in infections and first in deaths. We will never let him rewrite history or hide the truth from the American people.”
This harsh critique of Mr. Trump’s response matches Biden’s increasingly forceful condemnation. Early in the pandemic, Biden offered advice on what he would do if he were in office. By Monday, he was beyond advice, issuing a statement on Mr. Trump’s “failure to test,” which he called the “original sin” of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response.
“The testing is not going to be a problem at all,” Mr. Trump said at the White House on Monday evening while releasing new guidelines for states to expand testing and tracing.