Joe Biden is launching his first major television ad buy of the general election, pumping $15 million in TV, digital, radio and print ads into six battleground states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
The ads will air in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as national cable over the next five weeks. The ad buy comes after Biden's campaign said it raised nearly $81 million in May, and it offers a glimpse of Biden's early general election messaging to battleground state voters.
The first ad, titled "Unite Us," features Biden's own words talking about needing a president who will unite the country. It features words from his Philadelphia speech where he promised, "I won't traffic in fear and division. I won't fan the flames of hate. I'll seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country, not use them for political gain" as it shows images of Trump's photo op at St. John's Church after peaceful protestors were forcibly cleared from the area a few weeks ago. It also features images of Biden wearing a mask while meeting with voters.
The second ad, "My Commitment," is a positive message that features Biden speaking about the importance of essential workers, the need to pay them adequately, and portraying the role of a president as a "duty to care, to care for all of us, not just those who vote for us."
The campaign is also placing English and Spanish-language ads in Florida and Arizona.
On Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the US, the Biden campaign is starting a six-figure investment focused in African American print, radio and targeted digital programming in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump recently faced criticism for scheduling his first campaign rally in months on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- the site of one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history. Trump chose to reschedule the rally for the following day amid the backlash.
Biden has made a cautious return to the campaign trail after the coronavirus pandemic halted in-person events. Biden, by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, has sought to model the behavior recommended by public health officials and contrast himself with Trump.
The two television ads do not mention Trump by name, but in speeches and at campaign events Biden has been more pointed in his criticism of the President.
Trump "refuses to wear a mask, failing one of the most basic tests of leadership," Biden said in a speech at a recreational center outside Philadelphia on Wednesday, attended by a limited crowd of about 20 invited guests and reporters.
"He takes no responsibility. He exercises no leadership. Now we're just flat surrendering the fight. Instead of leading the charge to beat the virus, he's just basically waved the white flag ... so he can get back to his campaign rallies that will put people at risk," Biden said.
"Donald Trump thinks if he puts his head in the sand, the American people will, too," he said. "It doesn't work that way."