The Trump campaign tactically dropped a brand new 30-second national TV ad during Wednesday night’s World Series game seven, an unprecedented move by an incumbent over a year out from Election Day.
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The ad, which briefly pushed back against what the campaign slammed as “phony investigations,” mostly focused on the president’s first-term record — striking a different tone from the more impeachment-focused ads the campaign has run earlier this year.
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“He’s no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington,” the ad promoted to those watching the Washington Nationals defeat the Houston Astros to win their first World Series championship.
And according to Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, the ad was the campaign declaring “we’re on offense” nearly a year out from the general election, and a day before the House of Representatives would vote to pass an impeachment process resolution.
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While the ad aired during a game that drew just over 23 million viewers on FOX, Trump’s own tweet promoting the video quickly trended on Twitter, garnering over 1 million views in just two hours on the social media platform, which hours earlier had announced it would ban native political ads buys.
The president himself was more than enthusiastic after the ad aired during Wednesday night’s game, quickly jumping on the phone with friends and allies to boast about how great the ad was, crediting the idea to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, according to two sources familiar with the calls.
Jeffrey Mcwhorter/AP, FILE
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Dallas, Oct. 17, 2019.
The ad, which is part of a “seven-figure” national TV ad buy, according to the campaign, highlighted aspects of Trump’s record in office including crediting the president with “obliterating ISIS” and leaving their “terrorist leader dead” — referring to the recent death of Islamic State leader and founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself during a U.S. military raid that targeted his compound in Syria over the weekend.
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The campaign also claims in the ad that the president has has cut “illegal immigration in half,” an apparent reference to acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli’s recent Fox News appearance where he said, “we are down more than 50% since May in just three months.”
However, the ad fails to mention that in previous months, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, there were a record number of Southwest border border apprehensions under Trump, that then fell between May and August.
And while the president’s allies and supporters argue that the campaign’s unprecedented early and aggressive TV ad strategy projects strength, critics say they smell panic from a campaign already spending millions this far from Election Day.
“You don’t spend seven figures on ads unless you have a seven-figure problem,” Mike Madrid, a veteran GOP political consultant who’s a vocal critic of the president told ABC News.
But according to the Trump campaign, the ad is part of a larger strategy to push back against attacks from Democrats.
“Why should the president sit there and take it? We have the resources and we’re going to fight back,” a senior Trump campaign official told ABC News.
And with over $150 million cash on hand between the campaign and the Republican National Committee, even critics like Madrid admit they have a massive advantage heading into next year’s election.
(MORE: Trump campaign turns impeachment inquiry into fundraising bonanza)
“The good news for the Trump campaign is they will have more money than God to make him competitive, the bad news is they’re gonna need every penny of it,” Madrid said.
Back in September, the Trump campaign dropped a joint $10 million ad by from the Trump campaign and the RNC that was stretched across both TV and digital — $8 million of which went to an ad targeting former Vice President Joe Biden over Ukraine shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats were moving forward with an impeachment inquiry.