Former Vice President Joe Biden, now the almost certain presumptive nominee for the Democratic presidential nomination, is targeting his campaign at President Donald Trump and his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a more than minute-long digital ad, Biden’s campaign shows a side-by-side comparison of the two men answering similar questions about how to calm the American people as uncertainty and fear looms over the COVID-19 virus.
In the first clip, NBC reporter Peter Alexander asks Trump, “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now and who are scared?”
Trump fires back not with words of hope for Americans, but instead with a vicious attack on Alexander.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say,” Trump said in the clip from a Saturday press conference.
In contrast, the Biden campaign shows a clip from the Democratic debate last week in which moderator Jake Tapper posed a similar question
“What do you say to the American people who are confronting this new reality,” Tapper, an anchor on CNN, asked.
“This is bigger than any one of us. This is — calls for a national rallying to everybody move together,” Biden responded in the televised debate.
The video ad then alternates between portions of Trump’s response and Biden’s, highlighting a stark contrast in the two men’s messaging.
“I think it’s a very nasty question and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope and you’re doing sensationalism,” Trump said to Alexander.
Alexander later elaborated on why he asked the question, noting that he was giving the President an opportunity to reassure millions of Americans worried about the pandemic.
But the Trump campaign responded later arguing that was not Alexander’s motive.
“President Trump was in the middle of delivering a positive, uplifting message to Americans who may be afraid, and Peter Alexander was triggered by it,” the campaign wrote in an email, according to The Hill. “Perhaps if Alexander hadn’t been so determined to undermine the President’s message, he would have heard it.”
But taken in a silo, Trump’s comments to Alexander painted a different picture — one of a President firing back at a member of the media he deeply distrusts. He referred to Comcast, the company that owns NBCUniversal, as “Concast.”
The ad goes on to highlight other comments Trump made seemingly counter to the idea of reassuring the public.
“Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not,” Trump says in one clip.
The video goes on to show him saying, “I happen to feel good about it, but who knows. I’ve been right a lot.”
Trump has come under fire in recent days and weeks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with many arguing he was slow to take the virus seriously and has been using press conferences to paint a rosy picture of the situation in the U.S.
In a similar gaffe to Trump’s nemesis, former President Barack Obama, Trump claimed that anyone who wanted a test could get one, a statement reminiscent of Obama’s “lie of the year” when he stated that Americans who like their doctor could keep their doctor.
There have been widespread reports, including in Florida, of states lacking access to adequate testing supplies to accurately gauge the impact of COVID-19 in the U.S.
The Biden ad ends with a call to action.
“This moment calls for a President. In November, you can elect one.”