“Trump can try to spin this, but the truth is simple: He was caught red handed lying to the American people during an emergency and putting himself ahead of the safety of the nation,” Democratic National Committee (DNC) spokesperson and adviser Lily Adams said in an email Tuesday, The Hill reported.
The narrator of the 30-second ad, released Monday evening, calls Trump out for “lying” about the virus. The ad plays conflicting clips of what Trump said publicly about the virus, downplaying the threat, versus his interviews with Woodward earlier this year acknowledging the virus is “deadly stuff”.
“Millions of jobs lost and 190,000 Americans dead. You took an oath to protect our citizens. Mr. President, these deaths are on your hands,” the narrator says.
“It’s time to put America back in the hands of a president who will protect the country and tell us the truth,” the narrator continues, as the ad flashes to a clip of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The television ad will air in battleground states and on cable in Washington, D.C., according to the DNC.
A spokesperson for the organization told The Hill the DNC would release which states the ad will run in on Wednesday.
Trump gave numerous interviews with Woodward for the journalist’s new book titled “Rage”, his second on Trump’s presidency. Recordings of Woodward’s interviews with Trump were released last week.
In the recordings, Trump privately acknowledged to Woodward in early February that COVID-19 was “deadly”, even as he publicly dismissed concerns about the novel coronavirus around the same time.
When asked about the recordings last week, Trump said that “perhaps” he misled the public or downplayed the threat of the coronavirus “to reduce panic".
"The fact is, I'm a cheerleader for this country. I love our country," Trump told reporters, adding, "I don't want people to be frightened. I don't want to create panic, as you say, and certainly I'm not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy."
"We want to show confidence. We want to show strength. We want to show strength as a nation," he noted.
Democrats are looking to highlight Trump’s interview with Woodward, citing a recent Yahoo News-YouGov poll that found Biden expanding his lead over Trump after the recordings were released.
Biden led Trump by 10 points in the poll released last Friday, expanding the 6-point lead the Democrat had over the president in a similar poll conducted after the Republican National Convention.
Last week's poll also found that 25 percent of Americans said their opinion of Trump’s coronavirus response had changed because of Woodward’s recordings, and even 15 percent of those who voted for Trump in 2016 said the Woodward tapes had changed their mind about the president's handling of the pandemic, according to Yahoo News.
A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign was not immediately available for comment in response to the ad.