Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has released an ad that rips President Donald Trump's response to the spread of the coronavirus.
The 30-second TV spot highlights how Bloomberg managed emergencies while mayor of New York, including his handling of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Bloomberg was elected mayor nearly two months after the attacks, and oversaw the city's rebuilding efforts after he took office in January 2002.
The ad comes after he was the first candidate during the Tuesday debate in South Carolina to bring up the deadly coronavirus potentially spreading in the United States. He took direct aim at Trump when he discussed the possible hurdles ahead.
"The president fired the pandemic specialist in this country two years ago," Bloomberg said. "There's nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing."
The ad, which will air nationally on broadcast and cable on Thursday, also is a demonstration of the brute force of Bloomberg's approximately $60 billion fortune. He has an essentially unlimited war chest that allow his campaign to produce rapid-response ads at will. Bloomberg's campaign has spent more than $500 million on TV and digital ads, according to Advertising Analytics.
Bloomberg is ranked third in the Real Clear Politics national polling average. He is behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The virus has come from regions of China and spread into other countries, including into the United States. There are nearly 60 cases confirmed in the U.S. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned for people to prepare for a potential pandemic.
More than 81,000 people have been infected globally, while more than 2,700 have died worldwide.
Trump has been accused by Democrats running for president and health experts of making key cuts to organizations that may need the help in defending the U.S. from the virus.
Crystal Watson, an assistant professor at John Hopkins University, tweeted out recently that Trump had proposed cuts to CDC's Public Health Preparedness and Response program, along with the Hospital Preparedness Program of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
Watson also noted Trump's budget proposes an increase of $50 million for Global Health Security at the CDC.
Trump has defended his administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak. "CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus," the president said in a tweet Tuesday night during the Democratic debate.