Teachers union targets Trump in ad blitz over shortage of protective health gear

The nation’s second-largest teachers union has launched a series of television and online ad spots in which nurses and other health care staff condemn President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE’s suggestion they have stolen personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ad begins with a clip of the president questioning whether New York hospitals need masks to the degree they have purchased them, referring to an unnamed hospital that needed 300,000 masks per week and wondering, “Is it going out the back door?”

“President Trump suggested that nurses like me are possibly stealing masks,” one nurse says in the American Federation of Teachers-produced ad.

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“Do your job, Mr. President,” another says, with an additional nurse adding, “and give us the equipment we need to do our job.”

“Trump calls himself a wartime president, but our states don’t have the funds or testing they need, and our hospitals and healthcare professionals remain dangerously ill-equipped to fight this pandemic,” American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. “His refusal to do his job means our heroes will remain exposed and at risk.”

The AFT is also the nation's second largest nurses union, representing 200,000 nurses across the country.

The union told NBC the ad will air in 15- and 30-second versions in Washington, D.C., and New York markets on several networks including MSNBC, Fox News and CNN.

While the AFT is predominantly a teachers union, it also includes members from other fields, including nurses. Weingarten said the group produced the ad in response to Trump’s “odious suggestions that they are somehow thieves and demanding that he does his job as they do theirs.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report released Tuesday that at least 9,282 health care workers have contracted the coronavirus over two months, and that the likely number of cases that have gone unidentified and unreported indicate the true total is likely much higher.

About 84 percent of the 315,531 cases reported to the CDC between Feb. 12 and April 9 were missing information about whether the person in question was a health care worker, the CDC said.