Joe Biden’s presidential campaign took down an ad from its YouTube channel featuring a Michigan bar owner saying his business may fail because of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 response who was revealed to be a wealthy tech investor.
The ad was set to private on the Biden campaign’s YouTube channel sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. The Blind Pig bar co-owner Joe Malcoun, the star of the ad, also set his Twitter account to private sometime in the same timeframe.
The ad had been hailed by California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell as the “Best ad of 2020” on Monday.
“We don’t know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue. A lot of restaurants and bars that have been mainstays for many years will not make it through this,” Malcoun said in the ad. “My only hope for my family, this business and my community is that Joe Biden win this election.”
However, the odds that Malcoun falls under financial hardship appear to be slim. Malcoun told a Michigan-based NBC affiliate in 2018 that he received a lottery-like inheritance from his wife’s grandmother about a decade ago and used those funds to become the “go-to guy” for people seeking angel investors for tech startups in the Ann Arbor area.
“Usually you become a CEO and you make money, and then the money allows you to become an angel investor,” Malcoun said in 2018. “I happened to have different circumstances where I had money (first).”
The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
Malcoun said in the ad that his bar was nothing more than an empty room because of Trump’s inaction against the virus.
But Malcoun told Michigan Live in June that he decided it was “not worth it” to host any live shows at the bar despite having authorization from the state to hold events at limited capacity. Malcoun contributed $5,000 to Biden’s campaign the following month in July, Federal Election Commission records show.
Malcoun also acknowledged in a tweet Tuesday that his bar is “technically ALLOWED to be open at reduced capacity right now…we are closed because it’s UNSAFE and irresponsible to be open.”
The tech investor responded to his critics in a series of tweets on Tuesday, saying the ad “is not about me or any individual.”
“I am the mechanism for telling a story on behalf of thousands of others,” he tweeted. “Right now thousands of venue employees and musicians are out of work and millions of fans were robbed of live music experiences. That is the real tragedy.”
“If Trump had taken this virus seriously from the beginning and imposed a national strategy to address it venues like the Pig would be open by now and you would be enjoying live music again,” Malcoun tweeted. “But instead he chose to weaponize COVID for his own political gain and has convinced his supporters that the medicine is the illness.”
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