The Trump campaign will kick off its first television advertising blitz of the 2020 campaign cycle Sunday with a seven-day, seven-figure buy focused on the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to campaign officials.
A spokesperson called the new advertising campaign "an inspirational message about the unyielding resolve of Americans" that "heralds the great American comeback."
The president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic has increasingly come under scrutiny over the last month, with deaths in the U.S. surpassing 60,000 and an unprecedented 30 million Americans filing unemployment claims in the past six weeks. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this week, just 43% of Americans approved of Mr. Trump's handling of the coronavirus.
According to a recent CBS News Poll, 33% of Americans polled say they feel proud of the way President Trump addresses the nation, while 47% say they do not feel proud. When dealing with states, 52% of Americans think the president has considered a state's needs over partisanship, but four in 10 think he has favored Republican states over Democratic ones.
The president's campaign team also released a new digital ad Wednesday, a five-figure digital campaign touting the president's coronavirus response. The video features a montage of governors praising the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, including Governors Gavin Newsom, of California, and Andrew Cuomo, of New York, both Democrats.
Both advertising campaigns represent a departure from more recent attack ads targeting the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden's relationship with China. However, allies to the president tell CBS News Mr. Trump's re-election efforts will plan to unveil sharper attacks on Biden's "weak" stance toward China in the coming weeks.
The recalibration of the president's re-election campaign follows concerns aired by GOP leaders about the President's prospects this November as the race reframes around the incumbent's COVID-19 response. A slew of public polls show the president trailing Biden in battleground states Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, key to Mr. Trump's 2016 electoral win over Hillary Clinton.
President Trump dismissed the polling Wednesday night, in an interview with Reuters. "I don't believe the polls," Trump said. "I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don't think that they will put a man in who's incompetent."
Last week, top aids and allies to the president – both inside and outside the West Wing and campaign operation – urged Mr. Trump to scale back on his White House press briefings, which they say shift the focus away from positive developments in the nation's recovery, and toward Trump's squabbling with reporters. The recommendation from political advisors who believe the president is not getting a "fair deal" during briefings intensified following the president's suggestion that injecting disinfectants into the human body may help combat COVID-19. Such warnings reportedly caused the president to berate his campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
This week, a new ad campaign created by pro-Joe Biden super PAC "Priorities USA" criticized the president's handling of the crisis, highlighting rising COVID-19 illnesses and deaths in the United States. Dubbed "First," the $2 million television and online campaign will run in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Trump campaign and RNC's massive war chest were filled with over $200 million cash on hand, as of March 31. Campaign manager Brad Parscale boasts the joint field and data operation have surpassed 35 million voter contacts, so far.
Fin Gomez, Nikole Killion and Bo Erickson contributed to this report.