On Wednesday, the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Donald Trump super PAC, launched ads questioning the mental health of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. While attacks on mental health are generally considered below-the-belt, the PAC argued that the anti-Trump Lincoln Project had already crossed the line with ads questioning Trump’s physical and mental health. Questions about Biden’s mental capacity have increased with the candidate’s many notorious gaffes.
“From the COVID-19 economic shutdown to the Black Lives Matter riots, the world is becoming a more unstable place every day,” Ted Harvey, the PAC’s chairman, said in a statement on the ads. “The last thing Americans need right now is Joe Biden. Many are questioning whether Biden is mentally unfit for our nation’s highest office. While Biden’s cognitive abilities grow more concerning, President Trump remains the steadfast leader and proven conservative champion who can solve our nation’s problems and take America to its greatest heights yet.”
The ads ask three questions, interspersed with clips of Biden stammering and forgetting the words of the Declaration of Independence and referring to God as “you know, the thing.”
“Does Joe Biden have the mental capacity to keep America safe?” the narrator asks. “Is Joe Biden making any sense? Does Joe Biden have dementia?”
Then comes the damning conclusion: “In a world losing its mind, we don’t need a president who’s already lost his.”
The Committee to Defend the President is spending $400,000 on the ads. The version above will run on social media nationally, while a shorter version will run on cable news networks nationwide and on Arizona’s statewide broadcast networks for the next week.
The PAC explains that these ads “come in response to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project’s questioning of President Trump’s own mental fitness, which was widely reported by the liberal media.” I would prefer that political ads remain above board, not engaging in below-the-belt attacks like this. Yet the Lincoln Project did define deviancy down and the Committee to Defend the President claims it is merely responding to the anti-Trump ad.
The Lincoln Project ad in question argues, “Something’s wrong with Donald Trump. He’s shaky, weak, trouble speaking, trouble walking. So why aren’t we talking about this?”
“The most powerful office in the world needs more than a weak, unfit, shaky president. Trump doesn’t have the strength to lead, nor the character to admit it,” the ad claims.
In fact, the Trump campaign has launched a hilarious YouTube video series called “Truth Over Facts” — referencing the Joe Biden quote “we choose truth over facts.” The video series mocks Biden’s gaffes by “investigating” them. The “investigation” of the “lying dog-faced pony soldier” insult Biden once leveled at a young woman in New Hampshire is particularly hilarious.
At the end of the day, however, Biden’s gaffes are no laughing matter. The president of the United States has tremendous power and responsibility, and America can ill afford a president with mental problems at a time as tumultuous as ours. While Trump is far from perfect, he seems to be in much better shape than the former vice president.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.