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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks before signing the Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S. August 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst(reuters_tickers)
By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's reelection campaign released its first television advertisement on Sunday, a 30-second spot that attacks Democrats and touts the accomplishments of his first seven months in office.
The ad's release comes amid intense criticism of Trump's response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a planned rally by white supremacists led to violence that killed a counter-protester.
Speaking on Saturday from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump stopped short of calling the demonstrators "white supremacists" and instead criticized groups on "many sides." Even members of his own party said he had failed to adequately condemn those behind the violence.
The new advertisement uses the same video clips, still images and font as one released earlier this year by America First Policies, a political group that is able to secretly raise and spend unlimited sums of money. Trump's campaign and America First Policies are prohibited by law from coordinating with each other.
Trump filed for reelection the day he took office, an unusual move that has allowed him to begin campaigning long before the November 2020 election. Historically, incumbent presidents have waited two years, until after the midterm elections, to file formally.
Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for comment about how much money it was spending on the ad, where it was running or why it decided to release it this weekend.
The ad says Trump has created jobs and helped the stock market since taking office.
"The president's enemies don't want him to succeed, but Americans are saying, 'Let President Trump do his job,'" the advertisement states.
Trump continues to struggle with low approval numbers, and the television ad could be an attempt to bolster his support. His campaign has raised more than $12 million since the beginning of the year.
"This new campaign ad speaks directly to the American people and sets the record straight, reminding them that President Donald Trump will not stop fighting for them and will not allow anyone to stand in his way to deliver success for them,” campaign manager Michael Glassner said in a statement announcing the ad.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)