Aug 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

First look: New Trump ad doubles down on radical left frame for Biden

A combination photo of President Trump and Joe Biden.

Combination images of President Trump and Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images/Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump campaign launches a new ad Tuesday in five early-voting states that hits Joe Biden on taxes and immigration, redoubling a strategy to paint the Democratic nominee as a tool of the radical left.

Driving the news: "In His Own Words" will be a "high seven figure" spend running in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, a senior campaign official tells Axios.

Why this matters: The spending suggests Trump's strategists think this frame has the best chance of driving up Biden's unfavorable numbers.

  • For months, the campaign has tried out numerous — and largely unsuccessful — messages to get voters to intensely dislike Biden.
  • Very little has cut through a media environment in which voters have been focused on the coronavirus and President Trump's handling of the crisis.
  • But sources with direct knowledge of the Trump campaign's polling say their internal polls show a growing number of voters are associating Biden with left-wing, rather than moderate, positions. They did not make the full internal data available for review.
  • Wisconsin joins the other four states, where the campaign already was spending on advertising.

Between the lines: The ad will run in Wisconsin through the Democratic National Convention, which originally was slated to be held in Milwaukee before the pandemic prompted organizers to drastically scale down the event, make most speeches virtual and take Biden off the road.

  • The ad includes footage of Biden telling somebody who said they benefited from President Trump's tax cuts, "If you elect me, your taxes are gonna be raised, not cut."
  • Trump's campaign claims what Biden really means is that he'll be raising taxes on middle class families, small businesses and seniors.
  • Biden has denied he will do so, promising that nobody making under $400,000 a year would see their taxes go up. Trump's team disputes that and says Biden's pledge to restore the individual mandate for health coverage is effectively a tax.
  • The ad also uses a quote from Biden to suggest he wants to give citizenship and access to jobs and government benefits to 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The other side: Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said that "Donald Trump is the most radical president in modern American history," charging that Trump has worsened the pandemic, sought to take away health coverage for millions, tear-gassed peaceful protesters and failed to address Russian bounty offers on U.S. military.

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