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Trump campaign uses Biden's late son Beau in attack ad

The ad uses a photo of Biden with his sons to attack the former vice president for using teleprompters.

By Emily Singer - October 05, 2020
Joe Biden

Donald Trump’s reelection campaign used an image of Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s late son Beau in an attack ad over the weekend, according to Google ad data.

The ad uses what looks like a screenshot from a Biden appearance on “The Late Late Show” on CBS last month, during which Biden holds up a framed photo of himself with his two sons, Beau and Hunter. Circled on the photo is a reflection that some conservatives and GOP allies have falsely claimed is a teleprompter, with text under the image that reads, “Can’t handle an interview? Can’t handle presidency.”

Ben Winston, the executive producer of “The Late Late Show,” previously debunked that claim, which was first spread last month by other right-wing media personalities.

“So sorry to disappoint you,” Winston tweeted, in response to several far-right figures. “I am the exec producer of @latelateshow. That’s actually James’s prompter. Not @joebiden’s. On zoom they see all our screens including our prompter. It’s the only way it can be done.”

Nevertheless, the Trump campaign spread the conspiracy theory further this week. According to Google’s “Transparency Report,” which allows you to track political ad spending, the campaign spent roughly $100,000 to place the ad, which was first flagged by American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal opposition research group.

Trump has tried to make Biden’s use of teleprompters an issue in the campaign, despite often using them himself. At a campaign event on Sept. 17 in Wisconsin, Trump attacked Biden for using a teleprompter while reading off of one at that very rally.

Trump also faced criticism for his debate performance last week, specifically for his treatment of Biden’s sons.

After claiming not to know who Beau Biden was, as Biden spoke about his late son’s military service, Trump attacked Biden’s other son, Hunter, for overcoming drug addiction, a disease millions of Americans suffer from.

Trump is currently losing to Biden in the national polls by approximately 8 points, according to a FiveThirtyEight average. Biden also leads in enough critical swing states that he could win the Electoral College if the election were held today.

Biden’s favorability ratings are also going up, despite the Trump campaign’s efforts to portray him as dementia-ridden and unfit to be president.

An NBC News/WSJ poll following the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 found Biden’s favorable ratings at a net positive, while Trump was 16 points underwater. Biden’s favorability has improved since the last NBC/WSJ poll, taken before the debate, which found Biden’s approval rating underwater by 2 points.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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