On Monday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) began running ads in more than a dozen battleground states praising President Donald Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus crisis. While it is unusual for the RNC to launch ads eight months before the election, these ads counter a pervasive and misleading anti-Trump narrative on the virus, a narrative bolstered by leftist groups spending millions to tarnish the president.
David Bossie, president of Citizens United and former deputy campaign manager in Trump’s 2016 campaign, shared one ad on Saturday which Trump himself retweeted on Sunday.
“Our nation in crisis, but through the uncertainty and fear, our president is a steady hand. Bold action. Strong leadership. Uniting America,” the voiceover states.
“From the beginning, President Trump was decisive. Stopping travel from foreign nations, gathering our best and brightest, slowing the spread of COVID-19. President Trump will relaunch our economy and fight for the American worker. Helping a nation in need delivering unprecedented bipartisan relief. Thank you, President Trump,” the ad concludes.
— David Bossie (@David_Bossie) April 11, 2020
Liberals have faulted Trump for his statements on the virus, focusing on his early comments assuring Americans that the coronavirus would not be a serious threat. This narrative obscures the fact that Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said the virus was not a threat — partially because the experts did not consider it a threat. They did not see it as a threat because China was lying about its spread and the World Health Organization was repeating those lies.
Despite his sanguine early statements, however, Trump leaped into action early. The CDC issued travel advisories for Wuhan, China, mere days into 2020. In the last days of January, the White House created a Coronavirus Task Force to bring together America’s top minds to fight the coronavirus, the Trump administration announced travel restrictions on China, and the administration suspended entry into the U.S. for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the virus.
Similarly, as Trump and the Republicans pushed a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill, Democrats stalled, attempting to jam their far-left wish list into the must-pass legislation.
More recently, Trump’s marshaling of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers earned praise from governors across America — Republican and Democrat alike. Another RNC ad heavily featured their comments.
“I don’t care who it is, I’ll work with anybody if I feel I’m going to help the American people and the American worker,” Trump begins in the ad.
The ad then cuts to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.). “He said everything that I could have hoped for,” the Democrat says. “Every single thing he said, they followed through on.”
Next, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) says, “I want to thank the president and the vice president for communicating very well with all the governors.”
Then Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) chimes in. “We are working very well with FEMA reaching to them with the Army Corps of Engineers, building four field hospitals. That was a decision the president himself took and I’m grateful for it,” Murphy says.
“He has been responsive. He’s done a lot of good things, he has the Army Corps of Engineers in our state. He’s been very helpful and cooperative,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) adds.
The ad campaign, first reported by Politico, is targeted toward registered independents and moderate Democrats the RNC identified as potential swing voters. The ads will run on digital platforms, and since online advertising rates are cheaper during the crisis, party strategists said the ads will go further. With many Americans working from home, the ads may reach a wider audience.
The RNC ads praising Trump’s coronavirus response started running on Monday and will go through May 4.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.