‘Convicted felon’ billboard welcomes Trump back to Arizona

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The Democratic Nation Party unveiled their first paid advertisement calling out former President Donald Trump for being a convicted felon. Billboard image via DNC, graphic by Francesa Daly / COURIER

By Camaron Stevenson

June 6, 2024

Typically, political attack ads labeling candidates as crooks and criminals are little more than fictitious mudslinging—but when a criminal conviction is on the books, all bets are off.

Such is the case with a new billboard unveiled in Phoenix Thursday morning. The Democratic National Committee put it out on the day former President Donald Trump makes his first visit to Arizona in nearly two years.

“Trump already attacked Arizona’s democracy once,” the billboard reads. “Now he’s back as a convicted felon.”

The sign references two pivotal moments in US history: the first, when the Trump campaign allegedly conspired with Republicans in Arizona and several other states to take votes that went to Joe Biden in 2020 and give them to Trump—known as the fake elector scheme—and the second, when Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts in New York last month. The former president’s visit to Arizona rests between this ruling and his sentencing—which could include a prison sentence of up to four years—scheduled for July 11.

“If Trump, now a convicted felon, wins in November, he pledges to be a dictator on ‘day one’ while pushing to implement his agenda of revenge and retribution, threatening political violence while attacking Arizonans’ reproductive rights and democracy,” said DNC Deputy Communications Director Abhi Rahman. “Trump has always acted as though he is above the rule of law, and it’s clear he is unfit to serve. That’s why Arizonans will reject Trump in November and again unite behind President Biden and Vice President Harris to defend democracy and deliver for Arizona families.”

Running on all cylinders

The billboard is the first ad the DNC has paid for that directly attacks Trump’s criminal history, a spokesperson confirmed with The Copper Courier. The Biden campaign has also planned a number of events leading up to Trump’s rally, including one in Tucson to contrast the two candidates’ platforms on birth control and reproductive rights, and another in Phoenix to highlight Trump’s calls for political violence and his successful push for congressional Republicans to block a comprehensive, bipartisan border reform package earlier this year.

“This is the fourth time that Donald Trump said he would visit Arizona, and by the third cancelation I didn’t think it would actually happen,” said Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Yolanda Bejarano. “Trump’s sole mission today is not to win over Arizonans, but to raise money, undermine our democratic institutions, and promote political extremism that almost tore our country apart.”

Tepid showing by Republicans

While Trump is expected to speak before a friendly crowd at an event organized by the conservative group Turning Point USA, the billboard will be seen on one of the city’s busier interstate highways. The I-17, where the billboard is on display, runs through several battleground districts.

Republicans, in contrast, have spent very little promoting their candidates—largely due to a lack of resources. The Republican Party of Arizona couldn’t afford to keep its headquarters and had only 10% as much cash on hand as the Arizona Democratic Party in January. The Republican National Committee offices have faced a similar fate, as their much-touted Hispanic Community Centers closed only a few months after opening.

The Phoenix stop comes not only between Trump’s guilty verdict and sentencing but as a number of those involved in Arizona’s fake elector scheme in Arizona prepare for a trial of their own. Queen Creek Sen. Jake Hoffman is scheduled for his arraignment hearing Thursday morning on felony charges of fraud, forgery, and conspiracy to overturn an election. The trial for Hoffman and his 17 co-conspirators is scheduled to begin October 10.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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