On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Republicans are bombarding the media markets of the Washington, D.C. area with pro-Trump ads — not because they'll be of any electoral use to the party, but because the sight of them cheers up President Donald Trump and members of Congress who support him.
"Over the past month, the Trump campaign has spent slightly more than $400,000 on cable news ads in the Washington, D.C., area, buying time largely on Fox News but with some smaller buys on CNN and MSNBC as well, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission," reported Lachlan Markey and Asawin Suebsaeng. "The ads began running in late May and are scheduled through June 23. It is, on a purely electoral level, a remarkably quixotic use of campaign cash. The purchases have no real shot of moving D.C., Maryland, or Virginia into the Trump column."
"But that wasn’t the point," said the report. "The Trump campaign said the ad buys were an attempt to reinvigorate and reassure the president’s supporters in the nation’s capital. 'We want members of Congress and our DC-based surrogates to see the ads so they know our strong arguments for President Trump and against Joe Biden,' wrote Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, in an email on Monday."
Furthermore, "two knowledgeable sources — one a Trump campaign adviser, the other an individual close to the president — said the D.C.-area ads had another purpose as well: to put the president himself at ease."
"In recent weeks, Trump has grown visibly distraught at his prospects for re-election, with recent polling showing his standing in the race declining dramatically in the wake of a sustained coronavirus outbreak and resulting recession, and as demonstrators flood major cities to protest the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last month," said the report. "With Trump stuck in that milieu of anxiety, his re-election team is hoping that the ads may put him at ease that his formidable political machine is hard at work defending him and attacking his enemies. Trump is a voracious consumer of cable news, and — the thinking goes — is likely to see the spots pop up between segments of his favorite shows."
Per the report, the urgency for these spots to pacify Trump intensified as the president watched attack ads from the Lincoln Project, a group run by Never-Trump conservatives.
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