And so, over the past month, the Trump campaign has spent slightly more than $400,000 on cable news ads in the Washington, D.C., area, buying time largely on Fox News but with some smaller buys on CNN and MSNBC as well, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission. The ads began running in late May and are scheduled through June 23. It is, on a purely electoral level, a remarkably quixotic use of campaign cash. The purchases have no real shot of moving D.C., Maryland, or Virginia into the Trump column.
But that wasn’t the point. The Trump campaign said the ad buys were an attempt to reinvigorate and reassure the president’s supporters in the nation’s capital. “We want members of Congress and our DC-based surrogates to see the ads so they know our strong arguments for President Trump and against Joe Biden,” wrote Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, in an email on Monday.
But two knowledgeable sources—one a Trump campaign adviser, the other an individual close to the president—said the D.C.-area ads had another purpose as well: to put the president himself at ease.