President Donald Trump is livid that former Vice President Joe Biden is beating him in the "ad" horserace.
According to the Washington Post, Trump was forced to pull his ads off the air because of financial constraints. Trump has spent over $800 million over the course of the campaign, only to see his poll numbers remain stagnant.
Still, Trump is furious he can't perform at the Biden level. To make matters worse, independent groups are lining up to launch ads online and in key targeted areas that will be crucial for the Electoral College results. The Republican-run Lincoln Project also ran an ad on Fox News in the Washington, D.C. market just to troll the president who always tunes into "Fox & Friends."
After returning to Washington from the West Coast, Trump tweeted that it was all a lie that Biden is on TV more than he is.
At the same time, Trump seems all over the place with his campaign message. After going all-in on a "law and order" message for most of the year, polls revealed that not only did he fail to make it a large enough issue, he drove support to Biden for who would deal with "law and order" better.
"The zigzagging messages reflected a desire by Trump and his campaign to move beyond growing Republican concern about his relatively scant advertising budget and doubts about whether he now has enough money in the bank to close the race in a strong position," said the Post.
Advisers are working publicly and privately to downplay the dire financial situation Trump is in, and the most expensive expenditure is ensuring ads run in key states.
The campaign has dodged filing their campaign spending report that shows how much money they have and how much they've raised, but they're mandated to file the report for cash on hand by Sunday.
Senior aides were called into a meeting with manager Bill Stepien, but no additional ads have gone up on the airwaves that weren't already scheduled.
“We are running a comprehensive campaign to get the message out, combining people on the ground with advertising, while Joe Biden is making virtually no voter contacts and campaigning almost exclusively by buying television ads,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told the Post. “We like our approach better.”
It isn't entirely true. Biden's campaign is doing digital canvasing, phone-banking and quietly doing outreach in safe and healthy ways that don't put people at risk.
“Joe Biden is working to earn every vote with a groundbreaking campaign that meets this moment,” said Biden spokesman Andrew Bates. “And he’s doing it the way he would govern, by putting the well-being of the American families he would fight for first.”
Trump's campaign assumes that Biden's campaign isn't doing any kind of campaign at all.
“They have, like, totally given up on trying to have an old-school campaign,” the Post cited a person familiar with Trump campaign meetings. “They have no cost of ground operations. They are basically saying that they are going to spend every penny on television.”
Bates disputes the comment saying, “They’re in fact more reliant on their phones than ever, because Donald Trump botched the coronavirus response."
Trump has desperately tried to get back to his massive campaign rallies, but when he rented out a nearly 20,000 person arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma plus an overflow stage, he struggled to fill up more than one-third of the event space. Trump was humiliated when he did a kind of wing-wave flying over the event site in Air Force One where the over-flow event was empty.
As he began to hold his new rallies, the rooms have been packed, but the crowds were small. At an event outside of Las Vegas Nevada, only 1,000 people showed up. That's smaller than Trump's 2,000-person crowd in Sparks, Nevada in 2015, before he was even considered a serious candidate. One week before the 2016 election, Trump welcomed just under 8,500 people to a Las Vegas rally. He then lost Nevada to Clinton.