Analysis:

With video billboard messages in heart of Strip, Bloomberg turns the tables on Trump

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Christopher DeVargas

A series of anti-Trump ads paid for by democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg run on a digital billboard located on the corner of Harmon Ave. and Las Vegas Blvd. on the Strip Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Fri, Feb 21, 2020 (2:29 p.m.)

As Donald Trump staged a rally Friday in Las Vegas, Mike Bloomberg found a creative way to try to get under the president’s notoriously thin skin — bigly.

Bloomberg, the New York billionaire and Democratic presidential candidate, bought time on a massive video billboard in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip to post a rotating series of messages skewering Trump. Among them: “Donald Trump’s wall fell over,” “Donald Trump cheats at golf” and — perhaps most bitingly, given the location of the video board — “Donald Trump went broke running a casino.” Each of the seven slides in the series included large text saying it had been paid for by Bloomberg’s campaign.  

The messages appeared on the six-story wraparound display at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, across from the Cosmopolitan. The display is touted by the company that owns it as the largest of its type in the world, and is seen by millions of Las Vegas visitors per year. 

The promotion reflected Bloomberg’s experience in media and mass communication, where he made his fortune through his suite of financial-data and news products. It also showed an ability by the former New York mayor to turn the tables on Trump by subverting the president’s ability to control messages and belittle opponents. 

All of Bloomberg’s messages attack elements of Trump’s boastful representations of himself. A portion of Trump’s border wall in California did fall over recently during high winds, landing on trees on the Mexico side. Trump’s casino empire in Atlantic City did collapse during the 1990s. And according to sportswriter Rick Reilly in his 2019 book “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump,” the president routinely throws his playing partners’ balls into the water, retakes shots and throws balls out of bunkers. When Trump hits shots into the rough, Reilly writes, he kicks the ball into the fairway so often that caddies call him Pele behind his back.

Bloomberg posted similar messages knocking Trump in Phoenix, where Trump appeared at a rally Wednesday night.

That same evening, Bloomberg participated in the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, where he was attacked over the stop-and-frisk policies he instituted as New York’s mayor from 2002-13, over nondisclosure agreements signed by several women who worked for him, and other fronts. Bloomberg’s debate performance was heavily criticized. 

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