Donna Shalala ad hits Donald Trump on COVID-19 response

Shalala is a former Health and Human Services Secretary.

Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala is releasing a new TV ad hammering President Donald Trump on the federal government’s response to the novel coronavirus.

The 60-second ad is set to air on English-language and Spanish-language TV stations. Shalala is defending her seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District against Republican candidate Maria Elvira Salazar.

The new ad transitions between a narrator and previous clips from both Trump and Shalala.

“We’ve learned a lot in the last five months,” the ad’s narrator begins. The spot then transitions into comments from Trump at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“You have 15 people,” Trump said, “and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

That number did not drop anywhere near zero in the next “couple of days.” Those 15 cases have now ballooned to more than 6.3 million in the U.S. alone.

“We’ve learned that crisis doesn’t build character, it reveals it,” the narrator continues before transitioning back to Trump.

“So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down!’”

Trump advisers have said that comment was a joke. Trump subsequently claimed he was not joking and has repeatedly complained about the large number of tests the U.S. is conducting, arguing uncovering cases makes the outbreak look worse than it is. Health officials counter that increased testing makes the outbreak look as severe as it actually is. If cases go uncovered, Americans could get a false sense the virus is not spreading.

Back to the ad, the narrator says, “real leaders unite us.” That’s when Shalala makes her first appearance.

“Democrats and Republicans have to come together and to speak with one voice.”

The ad then closes out with remarks from the narrator.

“Congresswoman Donna Shalala reached across the aisle to protect Venezuelans and has led the criticism of dictators like [Nicolás] Maduro,” he continues.

“Long before the pandemic, Donna Shalala warned that we needed to be prepared for this type of crisis. That’s why Congresswoman Shalala fought to increase access to health care and worked to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Donna has sponsored bipartisan legislation to protect our medical supply chain so that we are not dependent on China. Now, more than ever, Donna Shalala for Congress.”

Shalala served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bill Clinton administration. Dr. Anthony Fauci worked under Shalala during that time.

Shalala will likely continue to highlight that experience going forward as she looks to hold off Salazar’s challenge. The two battled for the open CD 27 seat in 2018, with Shalala winning by 6 percentage points.

Salazar has topped Shalala in multiple fundraising periods this year. New polling from the Miami Herald also shows President Trump doing better with Hispanics in Miami-Dade County than he did in 2016. Those data points could lead to a tight race in CD 27.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    September 9, 2020 at 5:57 am

    Trump is a failure! Trump failed onthe trumpvirus war! It is not possible for trump to do anything for the common good! The goptrump cult sociopath racist sexist liar traitor Trump is the big loooooser!

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