Trump campaign manager explains unprecedented ad

President Donald Trump launched a 2018 ad for Republicans, paid for and produced by his own 2020 campaign. CNN's Dana Bash speaks with Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale.

Posted: Oct 30, 2018 10:48 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 10:48 AM

Donald Trump busts through so many norms of politics that it shouldn't be surprising he is at it again this final full week of campaigning before the midterms -- launching a 2018 ad for Republicans, paid for and produced by his own 2020 campaign.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tells CNN it is a $6 million ad buy on television and digital. The 60-second spot is focused on the booming economy, with flashbacks to the economic crisis that started 10 years ago, warning that it "could all go away if we don't remember where we came from."

The move is unprecedented, considering the President is not actually on the ballot November 6. But then again, so was formally filing for re-election on inauguration day January 20, 2017.

"What this ad shows is things are getting better. We need to continue to vote Republican and to continue to move forward with the president's agenda," Parscale told CNN in an interview.

"Sometimes success can bring complacency. We have to go remind them. We have to remind them that the economy is not just a given in the United States. It actually takes work," he added.

It has echoes of Ronald Reagan's famous 1984 "Morning In America" re-election ad, which Parscale says he watched and considered (quick to say he was eight years old when it came out) but notes it has, "a lot more emotional hook and utilizing modern technology, what we've learned about making TV commercials on the commercial side of business."

It is in fact produced to be more Superbowl commercial than political ad -- the same emotional approach used to sell Trump 2016.

"You have to make people feel things. I think that's what commercials are, from a commercial for a car, a phone or anything that might be, they want to do it. The first iPhone was sold by how exciting it was to hold pictures of your family, not how great a phone it was," recalls Parscale, who was in marketing long before politics.

He said the ad was developed over several months, which he argues they had the time and money to do with the Trump campaign up and running so early.

"Most political ads barely get a week or two. The way we did that is significant. That's more of how you do it in the commercial world. You really plan a product launch. In 2020 we have Trump 2.0, another product launch. It's the what are we going to do for four more years, and we have to be ready to sell that," Parscale explained.

Trump 2020 has already raised over $100 million, which is causing some sore feelings among Republicans who are on the ballot now, and accuse team Trump of gobbling up campaigning money they could be raising for 2018.

"Yeah, well, I think that's unfortunate," Parscale said of the GOP grumbling, "I think we're doing everything with that money we can to help them."

"Almost every single thing I've done for '18 has been completely focused on the midterms, like the unprecedented over $20 million we're spending to do it. $300,000, $400,000 rallies. $700,000 rallies. I don't think anyone in history has ever done that," he added.

Parscale noted that the rallies are "becoming shows" where "fans walk out now and say 'that was awesome.'"

The Trump rhetoric and violence

Part of the Trump show of course tends to be harsh rhetoric towards political opponents, and the media.

CNN footage from one of those rallies last year shows Cesar Sayoc lapping up the anti-CNN sentiment. Federal authorities say they have proof that Sayoc sent 14 mail bombs to critics of the President, including two of the president's Democratic predecessors. Another package bomb forced the evacuation of CNN's New York offices after it was discovered in the mailroom.

Does the President's rhetoric bear any responsibility? When pressed, Parscale insisted the answer is no.

"Let me be very clear. I don't think the President or myself in this campaign, we don't condone violence in any way. I want to be very clear with that. Do I think there's a fight against the media and the Democrats? Yes, but I think it's one that's done with our heart and our minds. I don't believe that it's ever something being done with the fist. I would never ever believe that or ever try to do anything or would ever condone violence against anyone in the media or anyone in this country. I don't think this President does either," Parscale responded.

It's not only rallies. Trump's campaign sends fundraising emails attacking the media, specifically CNN. Parscale apologized last week for the timing of one sent under the President's daughter-in-law Lara Trump's name, the day a pipe bomb was found at CNN. But he has no apologies for the content of the email, which said, "It's time for us to give the media another wake up call for the American people."

"Well, the wake up call is to show them 100,000 names that don't like it. There's a lot of different wake up calls. We should not always assume that everything is violent," Parscale declared.

And what about people who have don't have all of their mental faculties and take that kind of language as a green light for violence?

"Yeah, well, that's unfortunate. There's not much you can do about those kind of people," said Parscale.

"I'll tell you as one of the lead Trump people and the campaign manager of the army of Trump, that I would never want any single person to do anything violent against anyone. I don't think that's how you change the minds. I don't think that's how you change the country for the better," he added.

When asked if, given last weeks events -- a potentially deadly weapon sent to CNN -- he will think differently about language in Trump campaign letterhead, the answer was, "I don't think so."

"Look, again, I think it's unfortunate. This should never happen to anyone. To say that we're not in a fight for what we believe is not true either," he said.

But he did make a concession.

"I probably need to continue to do a better job to make sure that people that support this President, support our party, understand that that should never be done with violence. No one should get hurt over this."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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