Both President Trump and Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg purchased valuable Super Bowl air time for their presidential campaigns, and both ads featured an African American woman speaking about each politician.
Trump’s ad capitalizes on Alice Marie Johnson’s release from prison where she had served 21 years for attempted possession of cocaine and conspiracy to possess cocaine. Despite these being non-violent offenses and Johnson’s first conviction, she was serving a life sentence until Kim Kardashian personally lobbied the president for Johnson’s release during a 2018 meeting in the Oval Office.
In the commercial, text appears on the screen that says, “Thanks to President Trump, people like Alice are getting a second chance. Politicians talk about criminal justice reform. President Trump got it done. Thousands of families are being reunited.”
Then it cuts to footage of Johnson shortly after her release saying, “I’m free to hug my family. I’m free to start over. This is the greatest day of my life. My heart is just bursting with gratitude. I want to thank President Donald John Trump. Hallelujah!”
The irony, of course, is that thanks to Trump’s policies, families at the border are being separated in record numbers — between July 2017 and October 2019, more than 5,400 migrant children were taken from their parents, according to the ACLU. And, although the ad implied that the criminal justice reform legislation passed by Congress and signed by Trump was responsible for Johnson’s release, that bill had nothing to do with it. Trump granted Johnson clemency, and that is why she is now free.
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Trump also purchased a second Super Bowl ad, a 30-second spot that claimed: “America is stronger, safer and more prosperous than ever before.”
On the other side of the political spectrum, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg also purchased a Super Bowl ad. Bloomberg’s 60-second spot featured a mother, Calandrian Kemp, speaking about her son, George Kemp Jr., who was shot and killed at age 20.
The ad portrays Bloomberg as the candidate who can succeed at passing gun control legislation. He is a supporter of stronger background checks and permit requirements. “I know Mike is not afraid of the gun lobby — they’re scared of him,” Kemp says. “And they should be.”
Each billionaire’s campaign paid between $10-11 million for his 60 seconds of Super Bowl air time. With the election still more than seven months away, this is just a taste of the ads we will see in the run-up to November.