CNN Refuses to Air Trump Campaign Ad Accusing Biden of Corruption

Ad also 'disparages' CNN employees

CNN is refusing to air a new Donald Trump campaign ad that spotlights former vice president Joe Biden's role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that hired Hunter Biden, with the network complaining that the ad "disparages" CNN employees.

The ad paints the Democratic frontrunner as a corrupt self-dealer who used his influence to enrich his son while he served in the Obama administration. It also addresses Trump's July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, which is now at the center of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. The campaign argues that Trump's request that Zelensky "look into" the Biden family reflected his commitment to investigating political corruption.

"Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company," the ad, titled "Biden Corruption," says. "But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him."

The ad also takes aim at journalists who have been critical of the president.

"Their media lapdogs fall in line," the narrator continues, as images of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and CNN personalities Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Jim Acosta appear on screen. "They lost the election, now they want to steal this one. Don't let them."

The Daily Beast reported Thursday that when the Trump campaign attempted to buy airtime for the ad, CNN refused. The network cited both the negative depiction of its employees as well as the nature of the allegations against Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, for its decision.

"CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards," a spokesperson told the Daily Beast. "Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN."

The Trump campaign accused the network of running cover for Democrats, claiming that "CNN spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming, so it’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising too, and then talking to other media outlets about it. Our ad is entirely accurate and was reviewed by counsel, and CNN wouldn’t even describe to us what they found objectionable. This isn’t a cable news channel anymore, it’s a Democrat public relations firm."

CNN has spiked other Trump ads in the past. In 2017, the network refused to air a pair of Republican ads, one because it included a graphic saying, "fake news"—a second ad was rejected for including images of several CNN hosts as a narrator says, "the president's enemies don't want him to succeed."