America First Action launches $10M anti-Biden ad campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing
April 17, 2020: America First Action is launching a $10 million ad campaign in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Donald Trump issued his guidelines on Thursday for reopening the economy.         

Ballotpedia is monitoring changes made to election dates and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each Friday, we highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Tim Murtaugh is a Republican staffer with experience in political communications and messaging. He graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1991.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2006 Thelma Drake (R-Va.) U.S. House campaign, campaign manager
  • 2005 Jerry Kilgore (R-Va.) gubernatorial campaign, press secretary
  • 2000 George Allen (R-Va.) U.S. Senate campaign, press secretary

Other experience:

  • 2017-2019: United States Department of Agriculture, director of communications
  • 2013-2017: Office of Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), director of communications
  • 2011-2013: Self Employed, communications consultant
  • 2010: Republican Governors Association, director of political communications
  • 2009: Republican Party of Virginia, director of communications
  • 2008-2009: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, director of communications and public affairs
  • 2007-2008: Self Employed, communications consultant
  • 2001-2005: Office of Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R-Va.), director of communication
  • 2001: Republican National Committee, deputy director of communications
  • 1994-1999: NBC29 WVIR-TV, state capitol bureau chief
  • 1992-1993: WBQB-FM/WFVA-AM, news anchor and reporter

Notable Quote of the Day

“There is historical precedent for a losing candidate to focus on influencing their party’s convention even when their nomination was out of reach. When Jesse Jackson ran for president in 1984 and 1988, he also used his position to push for rules reform in the Democratic nominating process, which he argued had unfairly hurt black candidates and other outsiders running as progressives. Jackson successfully pushed for abolishing the ‘winner-take-all’ delegate standard, and now delegates are divided up proportionally according to a candidate’s share of the vote. It was these reforms that enabled Barack Obama to win his presidential primary in 2008.”

– Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept


  • During a coronavirus town hall on CNN on Thursday night, Joe Biden said the federal government should subsidize half of some salaries with employers paying the other half to reduce the number of pandemic-related layoffs. “Keep people on the payrolls and just have straight flat payment, a flat payment where the government pays half the salary of everybody on there,” he said. “You can keep everybody doing half the work they were doing but everybody stays employed.”
  • Biden said during a virtual fundraiser on Thursday that he was building a post-election transition team and considering making certain White House offices into Cabinet-level positions, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a defunct global health security team, and a new climate change team.
  • The Democratic National Convention’s host committee reduced its staff from 31 employees to 14 on Thursday. “As we work to help our staff transition through this difficult time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to hosting a successful and safe Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this August,” Raquel Filmanowicz, the committee’s CEO, said.


  • Donald Trump issued his guidelines on Thursday for reopening the economy. The plan has three phases beginning with restaurants, places of worship, movie theaters, and select other businesses opening if they observe social distancing practices. In the second phase, schools can open and nonessential travel can resume. In the third phase, large public venues can operate as normal with limited social distancing rules and senior care facilities and hospitals can allow visitors.
  • America First Action PAC announced on Thursday that it was launching a $10 million ad campaign in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that presents Biden and his son, Hunter, as financially connected to China.
  • Republicans for the Rule of Law is airing an ad on Fox & Friends on Friday criticizing Trump for saying earlier this week that he had total authority.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: April 17, 2016

In an interview with The Washington Post, Donald Trump said that the Republican National Convention should be a “monumentally magnificent convention and it should be brilliantly staged.” He continued, “It’s very important to put some showbiz into a convention, otherwise people are going to fall asleep.”

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