A liberal political group says that the coronavirus outbreak is going to play a big role in the upcoming November presidential election, and they're planning to spend millions of dollars attacking President Donald Trump for his response to the crisis.
According to a Tuesday story from the Washington Post, Pacronym — which is a political action committee associated with the left-wing nonprofit, Acronym — plans to spend $5 million hitting the incumbent president for his public health response.
It is a bet that the pandemic, which is also causing a deep economic downturn, will be the defining issue of the campaign.
"This is a public health issue and a national security issue, but it's also a public policy issue and thus a political one," said Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, whose board includes veteran Democratic operatives like David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 bid.
McGowan said it was critical for outside groups like hers to exact a political price on Trump as his possible Democratic opponents, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), aim to project leadership by staying above the fray.
In response to the news of the high-priced effort, the report continues, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh pointed to Biden's response to the 2009 outbreak of the swine flu and told the newspaper that "it is laughable that his allies would launch this attack when Americans can see for themselves through daily public briefings that President Trump and his team are on the case and have been so since before Joe Biden even woke up to the situation."
According to the newspaper, the multimillion-dollar campaign will be targeted at people in the five key battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. The report also adds that other "Democrat-aligned" groups have also planned coronavirus focused campaigns against the president.
However, even though $5 million is a lot of money, it's important to keep in mind that it will be up against the fundraising powerhouse that the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee have created ahead of the 2020 election. Case in point: The organizations announced that they had raised almost a half-billion dollars in 2019, according to Fox News.
The Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been attacked by Democratic primary opponents in recent days. Last week, Biden and Sanders held Thursday news conferences where they criticized the president's handling of the situation. At Sunday night's Democratic debate, Biden even made a comment about the United States refusing to take World Health Organization testing kits that was rated "mostly false" by PolitiFact.