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Biden campaign calls Trump a "convicted felon" in new ad about former president's legal cases

Biden, Trump gear up for first debate of 2024
Biden, Trump gear up for first debate of 2024 02:24

President Biden's campaign is leaning into former President Donald Trump's legal issues with a new TV ad calling Trump a "convicted felon." 

Trump last month was found guilty of 34 charges of falsifying business records to cover up payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in an effort to prevent voters from learning of an alleged sexual encounter between the two. Trump denies the sexual encounter ever happened.

The ad, titled "Character Matters," begins with a narrator saying, "In the courtroom, we see Donald Trump for who he is." It then references not only his 34 felony convictions, but the former president being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation in May 2023 and the New York City civil case in which a judge found the Trump Organization committed fraud.

"This election is between a convicted criminal, who's only out for himself, and a president who is fighting for your family," the ad ends with, as the campaign looks to highlight the contrast between the two candidates. 

Throughout his several court battles, Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has looked to discredit the prosecutors. He has indicated he would appeal the conviction from the "hush money" trial involving the Stormy Daniels payments.

The Biden campaign ad is targeted to run in battleground states just over a week before the first presidential debate on June 27 and is part of a $50 million dollar ad buy for the month of June.

"Trump approaches the first debate as a convicted felon who continues to prove that he will do anything and harm anyone if it means more power and vengeance for Donald Trump," said Biden-Harris 2024 Communications Director Michael Tyler in a statement about the ad. "We will make sure that every single day we are reminding voters about how Joe Biden is fighting for them, while Donald Trump runs a campaign focused on one man and one man only: himself."

The 2020 rematch between Mr. Biden and Trump remains tight. A June CBS News poll found Mr. Biden and Trump are basically tied both nationally and across the battleground states.

The ad is the latest evolution in the Biden campaign's messaging about Trump's legal issues. For months leading up to and during much of Trump's "hush money" trial, the campaign refrained from leaning heavily on the criminal proceedings, only making subtle references to Daniels' name in press releases.

That changed in the closing weeks of the trial. The campaign held a press conference outside the lower Manhattan courthouse that featured actor Robert De Niro and two former officers who were on Capitol Hill during the January 6 riot. 

In a statement reacting to the ruling, Mr. Biden said it reaffirmed "the American principle that no one is above the law" and said it's "reckless, it's dangerous, it's irresponsible, for anyone to say this was 'rigged,' just because they don't like the verdict."

Recent fundraising emails from Mr. Biden's campaign have also referenced the verdict. 

"Here's the unvarnished truth: A group of 12 Americans from all walks of life reviewed the evidence and unanimously decided to convict Donald Trump," one email from early June read. 

While Mr. Biden's campaign has held an advantage over Trump when it comes to cash on hand, Trump's campaign has seen momentum in fundraising following the convictions. The former president's campaign says it raised $52.8 million in the 24 hours following the verdict.

Initial reaction to Trump's conviction did not seem to drastically shake up the race, as most voters said it was not a factor in their vote, according to a June CBS News poll. That same poll, conducted after the decision, did find support from key parts of Mr. Biden's base slightly increased.  

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