Donald Trump’s Provocative First TV Ad Raises the Temperature of GOP Race

Robert Costa and Philip Rucker, Washington Post, January 3, 2015

Donald Trump’s ad begins with a shot of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Then comes a U.S. battleship launching a cruise-missile strike. From there it moves swiftly through an explosive montage: The suspects in the recent California terrorist attack. Shadowy figures racing across the U.S.-Mexico border. Islamic State militants.

The narrator, a deep-voiced man, speaks ominously: “That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, until we can figure out what’s going on. He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil. And he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for.”

The spot closes with the image of Trump thundering at one of his rallies, “We will make America great again!”

The Republican presidential candidate’s long-awaited and hotly anticipated first ad, which was shared exclusively with The Washington Post, is set to launch Monday as part of a series that will air in the final month before the Iowa caucuses. Trump has vowed to spend at least $2 million a week on the ads–an amount that will be amplified by the countless times they are likely to be played on cable news and across social media.

The decision to air television ads–which Trump hinted at for months, though the billionaire mogul has been loath to spend more than he deems necessary–represents a tightly produced new act for a candidate who has fed largely off free media attention.

In an interview Sunday with The Post, Trump said that he has six to eight ads in production and that his was a “major buy and it’s going to go on for months.” He said he hopes the spots impress upon undecided voters that the country has become “a dumping ground.”

“The world is laughing at us, at our stupidity,” he said. “It’s got to stop. We’ve got to get smart fast–or else we won’t have a country.”


One afternoon last week in the candidate’s 26th-floor suite at Trump Tower here, the fiery depictions of global terrorism flickered on Trump’s face as he stared down at campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s laptop computer to watch the final cut of the ad.

“Play it again,” Trump told Lewandowski, nodding approvingly. “I love the feel of it.”

The ad, which is 30 seconds long, will air in Iowa and New Hampshire. Lewandowski said Trump eventually plans to advertise in Nevada and South Carolina, whose contests will come later in February.


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