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President Donald Trump’s comments on Michigan protesters and leaders were featured prominently in a social media ad released this week by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign

The ad was released solely on social media and was not a paid ad, according to Biden's campaign. 

The ad begins with a quote from Abraham Lincoln that notes “A house divided against itself cannot stand” before showing imagery from the April 30 protest in Michigan, when protesters, some of whom were armed, entered the state Capitol. 

The images of the Michigan protest are overlaid by a May 1 tweet from the president, noting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “should give a little, and put out the fire.”

“These are very good people, but they are angry,” Trump wrote. “They want their lives back again safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.”

Trump's campaign arm called Trump Victory pushed back on the ad and touted Trump's coronavirus response. 

"While President Trump took decisive action to protect Americans, Joe Biden and his team continuously downplayed the threat of coronavirus while catering to China," Trump Victory spokesman Chris Gustafson said in a Friday statement.  

The Michigan imagery from the April 30 protest also is overlaid with audio from an April 18 press briefing, in which Trump said protesters across the nation seemed “to be very responsible people to me.” 

The ad also features Trump’s comments at a March 27 press briefing in which he discouraged Vice President Mike Pence from communicating with governors such as Whitmer, who had criticized the federal response on national television. 

“I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said at the March 27 briefing. “And I say, Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”

Trump also tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" after the April 15 protest, but that is not featured in the ad.

The ad shows footage from hospitals and testing sites, noting coronavirus has led to more than 70,000 deaths, more than one million cases and more than 33 million unemployment claims.

The ad ends with an image from a recent Fox News interview in which Trump sat in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The message over the image reads: "Real presidents lead. Reality TV presidents don’t.”

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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