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Biden, Democrats focus their RNC counterattack on Trump’s ‘failed’ COVID-19 response

WASHINGTON — The opening night of the Republican National Convention railed against socialism, cancel culture, “woketopians,” labor unions and calls to defund the police. But Democrats ignored much of that to keep their focus on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Democrats didn’t engage with the red meat GOP speakers tossed to the virtual crowds and instead just referred back to the chaos they say Trump has caused in office.

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“What they (voters) will hear from Donald Trump this week are the last things our country needs: more desperate, wild-eyed lies and toxic division in vain attempts to distract from his mismanagement,” said Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee. “What they won’t hear is what American families have urgently needed and been forced to go without for over seven consecutive months: any coherent strategy for defeating the pandemic.”

The Democratic National Committee on Monday night used a projector to turn the side of a building near where Republicans were speaking into a 75-foot-tall billboard with the words, “1,000+ deaths per day” displayed over a photo of Trump golfing.

The DNC, which has now essentially fused with the Biden campaign, also launched a TV ad Monday to welcome the “RNC — Republican National chaos.”

“Grandparents left to die alone, an economy left to perish because Trump has no plan for COVID,” the ad says. “Nothing will change because Trump won’t change.”

The Biden campaign also expanded its outreach out to dissident Republicans. Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake came out on the first day of the convention to endorse Biden, saying in a news conference organized by Biden’s campaign that he is “gravely concerned about the conduct and behavior of our current president.”

The Democratic super PAC American Bridge, meanwhile, recorded a video with Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer,” who has since turned on the president. “He can’t be trusted,” Cohen says in the ad. “Virtually everyone who worked for his campaign has been convicted of a crime or is under indictment. Myself included.”

Image: Alex Seitz WaldAlex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is senior digital politics reporter for NBC News.

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