If a member of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign shows up at your home wanting to discuss the upcoming election, should you feel safe answering the door? That is the question Protect Our Care will put in front of Iowans and voters in battleground states with a new ad launching this week.
The digital ad begins with repeated knocking on a door.
“Who could that be?” the narrator asks. “It’s the Trump campaign, and they’re spreading more than just campaign pamphlets.”
Given how “President Trump and his supporters have mocked safety protocols like wearing masks and social distancing,” Protect Our Care, a progressive health care advocacy group, wants to draw attention to the risks his campaign poses to voters if they canvass irresponsibly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April recommended all Americans wear face masks in public to help limit the spread of COVID-19. It wasn’t until mid-July that Trump said, “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact.” For most of the spring and summer, Trump did not wear a face covering in public, mocked those who did and spread misinformation about the effectiveness of masks.
“There’s a safe way for political campaigns and other organizations to canvass during a global pandemic,” said Zac Petkanas, director of Protect Our Care’s Coronavirus War Room, in a statement. “However, voters should have no confidence that the president’s reelection campaign is taking any of the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus after Trump spent months downplaying the danger, ignoring expert recommendations, mocking the need to wear face masks and flouting social distancing best practices.”
The Trump campaign recently boasted it had knocked “over 1 million doors” in a one-week period. Joe Biden’s campaign had knocked none, instead utilizing text messages, phone calls and virtual meet-ups to connect with voters.
Politico reported the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is training staffers on best practices in digital and virtual canvassing, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “was not aware” of any campaign canvassing in person.
Protect Our Care’s ad “will focus particularly on states where Republican governors have refused to require masks,” including Iowa, Arizona, Florida and Georgia. The ad also targets Michigan, “where armed protesters against efforts to mitigate the virus erupted earlier this year,” in order to “warn viewers about who may be coming to their door as part of a potentially unsafe canvassing operation.”
On July 23, Gov. Kim Reynolds instituted the Step Up, Mask Up campaign with the Iowa Department of Public Health. But Reynolds repeatedly has been photographed not wearing a mask and attends gatherings in which few attendees are masked.
During a July 30 press conference, one week after the Step Up, Mask Up campaign launched, Reynolds pushed back on implementing a statewide mask mandate, saying some people “will tell you just the opposite,” regarding whether face coverings are effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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