President Donald Trump's re-election campaign released a new ad Monday, focusing on the growing economy and aimed at suburban women voters who have been abandoning the Republican Party, according to recent polling. It's a far more optimistic message about the midterm elections than the one the president himself has been delivering. The Trump campaign said it plans to spend $6 million to air the ad on cable, network and digital platforms over the next week.
The new ad is also notable for the fact that Trump's name is completely absent. The only sign that Trump's campaign paid for the spot was a subtle "T" in the lower right corner of the screen, and a mandatory disclosure at the end. Trump, meanwhile, has told supporters at his raucous campaign rallies that a vote for Republicans means "you're voting for me."
Trump plans to hold as many as 10 campaign rallies in the next eight days, where he will likely hammer many of the same themes that he has all summer and fall. These include claims that immigration poses a threat to the country, that Democrats want socialism, and that Democratic control of Congress will result in "mob" rule.
But that's not what the ad wants viewers to think about.
Narrated by a female voice, the 60-second spot features a mother, who appears unsure of how she plans to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6. Then she sees a yard sign that says, "Vote Republican," and a voice on her car radio says, "We can't get distracted from the biggest issues, which are jobs and our kids' future."
But "jobs and our kids' future" are very different issues from the ones that Trump himself is focusing on in the final week of the 2018 election cycle.
Two hours after Trump's campaign released the new ad, Trump himself was back to fanning voters' fears about immigration, calling a caravan of Central American asylum seekers "an invasion of our country."
Trump's language is particularly hypercharged in the wake of two historic crimes that occurred during the past week in the United States. The first was a series of attempted pipe bomb attacks last week that targeted 14 Democratic officials, prominent Trump critics and a news organization, CNN, which Trump frequently vilifies.
The second was the horrific murder of 11 Jewish synagogue attendees in a mass shooting in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Like Trump, the suspect in Saturday's attack, Robert Bowers, referred to the asylum seekers as an "invasion," and believed they were coming to America to commit violent crimes, according to his social media posts. The difference was that Bowers was a virulent anti-Semite, and he blamed the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for helping the migrants.
The suspect in the pipe bomb assassination attempts, Cesar Sayoc, was an angry and passionate Trump supporter, whose social media posts were plastered in pro-Trump messages. They also contained scores of threats against Trump's political opponents and his critics.
The president has flatly denied that his heated rhetoric has anything to do with the motivations of either Bowers or Sayoc, and has instead blamed the news media for contributing to the anger that many Americans feel.
On Monday, Trump called the press "the true Enemy of the People." A few hours later, authorities discovered another pipe bomb addressed to CNN, which preliminary reports indicate was similar to the rest of the Sayoc pipe bombs.