Democrats say Trump campaign ad singles out Locke over race

President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE’s reelection campaign released a new ad on Friday accusing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE of being soft on China, eliciting outrage from Democrats, who said the ad singled out a prominent American citizen because of his race.

The new ad features clips of Biden praising China and meeting with Chinese officials.

At one point the ad flashes to an image of former Washington Gov. Gary Locke (D), the Seattle-born Chinese American who also served as former President Obama’s ambassador to China.

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Democrats said the image, which features Locke standing near Chinese flags, is indistinguishable from the other images of Chinese officials and was included either because Locke looks Chinese or in an effort to stoke suspicion around him because of his ethnicity.

“Their repugnant depiction of a great American, who Joe Biden is honored to have the support of, speaks to exactly why the Vice President is determined to win this battle for the soul of our nation," said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign. "It’s also incredibly revealing that this ad comes from a president who spent weeks buying the Chinese government’s spin about containment of the outbreak, despite Joe Biden publicly warning him not to.”

Andrew YangAndrew YangDoctor who allegedly assaulted Evelyn Yang arrested on federal charges The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden weighs in on police shootings | Who's moderating the debates | Trump trails in post-convention polls Buttigieg launches his own podcast MORE, a former Democratic presidential candidate whose parents are from Taiwan, called the ad “infuriating.”

“Gary Locke is as American as the day is long,” Yang tweeted.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the image was included because it was from a trip Biden took to Beijing in 2013 as vice president.  

Biden’s son Hunter Biden also went on the trip, in an unofficial capacity. Trump and his allies have sought to raise questions around whether Hunter Biden profited financially off of his father’s political connections. At the time, Hunter Biden was on the board of a private equity company with ties to the Chinese government.

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“The shot with the flags specifically places Biden in Beijing in 2013,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh tweeted. “It’s for a reason. That’s the Hunter Biden trip. Memory Lane for ol’ Joe.”

The 60-second Trump campaign ad is otherwise aimed at touting Trump’s hard line against China and casting Biden as a tool of the Chinese government.

In particular, the ad focuses on Trump's decision to declare a ban on travelers from China in March during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysterical xenophobia,” Biden says in the ad.

However, the Biden campaign has said that remark was not aimed directly at the travel ban and that the former vice president supported Trump’s move to shut down travel between the two countries.

The Trump campaign ad closes with Biden saying, “I complimented him on ... dealing with China.”

The Biden campaign pointed to a CNN town hall he did last month, where he said he was skeptical of the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

"What I would do were I president no, I would not be taking China's word on it," Biden said. "I would insist that China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it's from, how far along it is. Because that is not happening now."