Screen grabs from America First Action's #BeijingBiden ad campaign.

A leading pro-Trump super PAC is testing a new ad campaign to paint Joe Biden as soft on China and redirect criticism of President Trump’s coronavirus response.

Driving the news: Beginning Friday, America First Action will spend $10 million in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — which yielded pivotal but bare victories for Trump in 2016 — to brand the presumptive Democratic nominee as “Beijing Biden” and see what sticks.

  • These states all have been impacted economically by China in terms of jobs, manufacturing or steel.

Why it matters: The ads come as Trump campaign officials lay plans to try to make the general election campaign more about the former vice president's past approaches to China than Trump's response to the coronavirus, or Trump's own approaches to China.

Details: The ads, previewed by Axios, are slightly different for each state, to target different audiences. They attack Biden for "his weakness" on China and globalist ideals, which the group charges led to "hundreds of thousands of jobs" being sent overseas.

  • Each ad shows a clip of Biden speaking at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, in 2011: “I believed in 1979 . . . and I believe now that a rising China is a positive development," he said.
  • A spokesperson for America First Action tells Axios that the PAC has already poll-tested these themes, and as the ads air will continue monitoring their performance.
  • The group is simultaneously unveiling a new website, "BeijingBiden.com," carrying opposition research that highlight's Biden's ties to China and China's failures in addressing the pandemic.

Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told Axios: “Joe Biden called on Donald Trump to lead. He publicly urged him not to believe China's spin about the worst public health crisis in over 100 years, and to insist that our CDC experts be given access there.

  • “Instead, despite repeated warnings from our intelligence agencies and medical experts, Trump spent vital weeks praising China's response as successful and transparent while deceiving the American people about the extreme threat we faced and failing to prepare our country,“ Bates added.

By the numbers: The digital, cable, broadcast and mail campaign will continue until through the end of May. The breakdown:

  • Michigan: $2 million spent in the Traverse City, Flint and Grand Rapids media markets. This ad states that Biden "attacked" Trump over his January ban on travel to China, and shows Biden accusing Trump of "xenophobia and fear mongering.” (As fact checkers have pointed out, Biden made no reference to the China travel restrictions when making these comments and never said he opposed them).
  • Wisconsin: $2.7 million spent in the Wausau, La Crosse and Green Bay media markets. It has a greater focus on U.S. manufacturing jobs and how "America must stop" Chinese growth.
  • Pennsylvania: $5.5 million spent in the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Erie and Wilkes-Barre media markets. It states that "China is killing our jobs, stealing technology, putting America’s health in danger," juxtaposed against a clip of Biden saying "They’re not bad folks."

Be smart: Beijing's flawed coronavirus response has exacerbated public outrage toward China.

Go deeper

Twitter launches warnings on election misinformation and delays

Photo: courtesy of Twitter

Twitter will start pinning notices to the top of all U.S. Twitter users’ timelines warning that results in next week’s election may be delayed and that they may encounter misinformation on mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Delayed election results are expected across many states that are handling unprecedented amounts of absentee and mailed ballots, which President Trump has baselessly called "very dangerous" and "corrupt."

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

NASA confirms water exists on sunny parts of the Moon

Photo: NASA/JPL/USGS

Water on the Moon might be more easily accessible than previously thought, opening up new possible avenues for future human exploration, according to a new study.

Why it matters: NASA is aiming to send people back to the Moon as part of its Artemis program by 2024, with plans to eventually create a sustainable presence on the lunar surface. That sustainability relies on mining the moon for its resources, like water.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pence no longer expected at Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation vote

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence no longer plans to attend the Senate's final confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Pence aide confirmed to CNN and Politico on Monday. On Sunday, Senate Democrats claimed that his presence after possible exposure to the coronavirus would be a "violation of common decency."

Driving the news: Five of Pence's aides were recently diagnosed with COVID-19, including his chief of staff, who is currently quarantining. Pence has continued his campaign travel despite his possible exposure, which goes against CDC guidelines.