A New Biden Ad Is Highlighting Trump’s Criminal Conviction

In a new ad, the Biden campaign is taking direct aim at Trump’s history-making status as a convicted criminal.Laura Brett/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

In a new advertisement, President Joe Biden is highlighting the fact that his GOP opponent for the presidency is now a convicted felon—a first in American history.

The ad begins with somber, black-and-white pictures of former President Donald Trump in court flashing across the screen. “In the courtroom, we see Donald Trump for who he is,” a narrator explains. “He’s been convicted of 34 felonies, found liable for sexual assault, and he committed financial fraud.” (Fact-check: All true.)

After a brief detour into some of Biden’s accomplishments—”lowering healthcare costs and making corporations pay their fair share”—the narrator reminds viewers of the high stakes in November’s election: “This election is between a convicted criminal who’s only out for himself and a president who’s fighting for your family.”

NEW AD: Donald Trump is a convicted felon who has been found liable for sexual assault and committed financial fraud.This election is between a convicted criminal who’s only out for himself and a president who’s fighting for your family. pic.twitter.com/dSG1uUpBJY— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) June 17, 2024

Unsurprisingly, the Trump team immediately hit back at the new ad. They noted, without evidence, that the ad proves the right-wing conspiracy theory that the hush-money case for which Trump was found guilty was a product of politically motivated election interference at Biden’s direction. “Crooked Joe Biden and the Democrats’ weaponized the justice system against President Trump and this new ad once again proves the sham trial was always meant to be election interference,” Trump Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt claimed in a post on X. “But Americans see through it.”

The new ad is reportedly part of a $50 million ad blitz the Biden campaign is launching through the end of this month, timed to kick off before the first presidential debate between Biden and Trump, hosted by CNN and set for June 27. It also reflects the Biden campaign’s increasing focus on turning Trump’s conviction into a critical part of its messaging. New polling shows this could matter to certain key voters. A POLITICO Magazine/Ipsos poll found that more than a fifth of independent voters—21 percent—said the conviction made them less likely to support Trump. On the other hand, 44 percent of independents said they somewhat or strongly believed the false narrative that the hush-money case was brought to support Biden’s re-election. In 2020, Biden led Trump among independent voters by 52 to 43 percent.

As the election inches closer, Biden seems to be taking the gloves off and trying to convey just how significant a threat Trump 2.0 could be. At a campaign fundraiser on Saturday where he raised $30 million, Biden also reportedly said “one of the scariest parts” of Trump’s re-election would be that he could appoint two more Supreme Court justices. (Lest you forget, in his last term, Trump appointed three of the five justices who helped overrule Roe v. Wade—one of his points of pride in this year’s election.)

As Democrats attempt to highlight the contrast between Biden’s and Trump’s records on abortion rights, NBC News reports that the Biden campaign plans to hold more than 30 events in battleground states this Saturday to mark the two- year anniversary of Dobbs, the ruling that struck down Roe. The Democratic Party arm focused on state legislative races also announced a $10 million campaign today in swing states emphasizing the importance of electing Democrats at the state level and putting Biden back in the Oval Office for another term.

It looks like the Democrats’ gloves are finally off—just in time for next week’s battle on the debate stage.