Robert De Niro Stars In Biden’s Pre-Debate Ad Blitz

In the Biden campaign ad he narrates, Robert De Niro emphasizes the threat Trump poses to democracy and the Constitution.
In the Biden campaign ad he narrates, Robert De Niro emphasizes the threat Trump poses to democracy and the Constitution. Matt Marton/Associated Press

The Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro narrates a new campaign advertisement for President Joe Biden, kicking off a series of highly-produced TV and digital spots leading up to Biden’s first debate with former President Donald Trump in Atlanta on June 27.

In the 30-second video ad, De Niro, a long-time Democrat and vehement Trump critic, lays out examples of erratic and authoritarian behavior showing Trump  “out of control” as president.

Noting Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election, De Niro argues Trump’s behavior worsened after losing to Biden. The former president’s conduct from Nov. 2020 onward highlights the threats to American democracy that would come from a second Trump term, according to the renowned star of “The Godfather Part II” and “Raging Bull.”

“Now he’s running again — this time, threatening to be a dictator, to terminate the Constitution,” De Niro says, before a clip of Trump warning of a “bloodbath” if he loses. “Trump wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it.”

Trump indeed threatened a “bloodbath” if he lost, but the ad takes his words out of context. He was specifically referring to the negative effect his defeat would have on the U.S. automotive industry.

The De Niro ad, which came out Friday, is part of a broader push by the Biden campaign to bring home the stakes of the election for key voters, many of whom have not yet been following the race closely.  

The campaign does not say how much money it puts behind individual ads, but the video is part of a $14 million blitz this month in the six battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Between now and the first debate, the Biden campaign plans to emphasize three core themes, according to a memo released by Biden campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon: Trump’s responsibility for overturning the federal right to abortion and his plans to “go further”; how Trump “attacks our democracy, continues to embrace political violence, and spreads conspiracies about the election he lost” (the focus of the De Niro ad); and how Trump’s “economic plans, from his billionaire tax giveaways to his plans to gut Social Security and Medicare, would make him and his friends richer and jack up costs for the middle class.”

O’Malley Dillon said two dates the campaign will use to drive home these themes are the tenth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, and the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24.

Biden and Trump have agreed to two live televised debates. CNN will host the Atlanta match-up, and ABC News will host the second debate on Sept. 10, the location of which is still to be determined.

The two debates are the earliest that general-election presidential debates have occurred since the tradition of televised debates began in 1960. 

Biden is apparently eager to take Trump down a notch before early voting, which begins in some states in late September. Biden currently trails Trump among registered voters in all six battleground states.