WASHINGTON — The Democratic super PAC American Bridge is launching a $4 million ad campaign against President Donald Trump in Midwestern battleground states in an attempt to capitalize on a report that he disparaged dead American soldiers.
The spot features an Army veteran identified as Jack from Macomb County, Michigan, who says he voted for Trump in 2016 but faults the president for refusing to take responsibility for the violence occurring in the United States and instead blaming it on Democrat Joe Biden.
"This is what you have brought. You've been doing this for three and a half years," Jack says to the president, in a video spliced with somber background music that was viewed by NBC News. He says Biden will be "the first Democrat I'll vote for for president," calling him "an honest person" even if they disagree on policy.
The Democratic group plans to air versions of the ad on television and radio in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, three states that made Trump president by a collective margin of about 80,000 votes. The group said the ad buy includes NFL spots in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and also digital buys.
It is aimed at undermining the president's support among military families, seniors and Americans in rural areas and small towns who form the core of his political base.
American Bridge President Bradley Beychok accused Trump of having "dishonored the memories of our fallen heroes, and disrespected their families."
In a statement, he said the group's new ad campaign seeks to reach "swing-county voters that will decide this election" with "an added focus on veterans" to help elect Biden president.
The new ad buy Friday comes one day after a report by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic that Trump privately told staff in 2018 that American service members who died were "losers" and "suckers."
Trump aggressively denied the report Thursday night, saying the remarks attributed to him were made up: "What animal would say such a thing?" he said to reporters. On Friday, he called the story "fake." (The Atlantic stood by its reporting.)
Biden, whose son served in the military, labeled Trump's remarks "damnable" and "a disgrace" Friday, calling on him to apologize to the families of fallen U.S. troops.
A Military Times poll released Aug. 31 found that Biden leads Trump by a margin of 41 percent to 37 percent among active-duty troops surveyed.