The Republican National Committee released an ad on Tuesday using footage of a CNN contributor mocking Trump voters as “credulous rubes.”
In the CNN segment, contributor Rick Wilson says the Trump administration is “defined by ignorance of the world” and referred the “credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump.” Anchor Don Lemon bends over laughing in response to Wilson’s jibes.
— Disrn (@DisrnNews) January 29, 2020
The RNC cross-cut footage of the segment with clips of Democratic presidential candidates criticizing Trump’s voter base.
“You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables,'” former candidate Hillary Clinton says in one clip. Another plays footage of South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg saying, “Anyone who supported this president is, at best, looking the other way on racism.”
The ad ends with the message, “They think you’re a joke. Prove them wrong in November.”
Lemon attempted to walk back his reaction after the CNN segment drew criticism from conservatives.
“During an interview on Saturday night, one of my guests said something that made me laugh. And while in the moment, I found that joke humorous. And I didn’t catch everything that was said,” Lemon asserted. “Just to make it perfectly clear, I was laughing at the joke and not at any group of people.”
The ad comes as President Trump gears up for reelection in November. The Democratic primary remains volatile but it has winnowed to four likely candidates. While former vice president Joe Biden has retained the lead in most national polls, socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has surprised establishment Democrats with a durable candidacy and consistent, enthusiastic base of support. Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren continue to poll slightly behind Sanders and Biden nationally.
The president, meanwhile, is currently facing an impeachment trial in the Senate over his alleged actions regarding Ukraine.