Donald Trump’s re-election campaign paid YouTube an undisclosed, seven-figure amount to take over their masthead for 24 hours beginning at midnight, Sunday, October 4, as reported by Fox News. The page featured a banner asking supporters to send the president a text with the word “BLESS” and a video message from him filmed on Friday before he left the White House for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A screenshot of the masthead was tweeted by Forbes reporter Andrew Solender.
The purchase followed the president’s positive diagnosis of COVID-19 on Friday.
In the eighteen second video, Trump thanked his supporters before leaving for Walter Reed Hospital.
“I think I am doing very well,” he said.
The ad came out just before Operation MAGA, a strategy implemented to continue campaigning with the absence of the president, was officially launched on Monday morning. The plan included sending Vice President Mike Pence and Trump family members to make in-person appearances in the president’s stead. Pence is set to appear at the vice presidential debate against Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday, October 7, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The project is being run by Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien who also tested positive for coronavirus and is working remotely, according to USA Today.
A subsequent post on the YouTube page for Donald J. Trump, shared on Monday, October 5, showed the president thanking the professionals at Walter Reed Medical Center. He also confirmed he is on medication for the virus and hopes to be back on the campaign trail soon.
“I’ll be back, I think I’ll be back soon. And I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way it was started and the way we’ve been doing. The kind of numbers we’ve been doing, we’ve been so proud of it. But this is something that happened and it has happened to millions of people all over the world, and I’m fighting for them…We’re gonna beat this coronavirus or whatever you want to call it.”
Viewers commented on the video, with some calling out the original title, which had been changed from including the word “warrior” to the current title, “Thank you, for the tremendous support!”
“The only warrior aspect of this is the fact that he put comments on,” wrote one user.
“President trump [sic] is a warrior! they said, about the man who avoided the draft,” wrote another.
Others sent positive messages.
“Thank you for everything trump [sic]!!” wrote one person.
“God Bless you Mr Trump. I hope you are still going to try & get to Janesville(Wisconsin)one day,” commented another.
The YouTube masthead is available for purchase in 24-hour increments, with a minimum cost of $300,000-$400,000 per day. In August, the Trump campaign purchased the spot for 96 consecutive hours to run ads during the Democratic National Convention and did so again during the Republican National Convention.