William Cummings, USA TODAY, November 1, 2018
President Donald Trump’s campaign claimed in an ad that Democrats are responsible for a Mexican citizen who killed two California deputies, and Trump’s critics have called the spot racist and divisive.
“Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!” reads the opening text in a campaign ad tweeted by Trump Wednesday.
“Democrats let him stay,” the next line reads.
The man featured in the video is Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican citizen who had repeatedly entered the U.S. illegally and was sentenced to death for the murder of two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies.
The inflammatory ad is part of Trump’s ongoing push to make immigration a key issue ahead of the midterm elections next week.
“It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now!” the president tweeted alongside the ad.
The 53-second spot, paid for by the Trump campaign, is being derided by many as the most racially charged campaign commercial since the infamous
During his trial, Bracamontes was removed from the courtroom for threatening outbursts. At the reading of his verdict in February, Bracamontes smiled and vowed to “to kill more cops soon.” The commercial centers on Bracamontes’ antics, while the text tells the viewer that “Democrats let him stay.”
The video, which had been seen by 1.9 million people as of 7 a.m. EDT Thursday, then cuts to scenes of apparent migrants crashing through unspecified gates.
“Who else would Democrats let in?” the ad asks rhetorically in conclusion, before closing with a message that “President Donald J. Trump and Republicans are making America safe again.”
In response to the new ad featuring Bracamontes, Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a Trump critic, said, “This is just a new low in campaigning. It’s sickening,” according to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Several critics compared the ad to a conservative PAC commercial for former President George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 campaign to succeed President Ronald Reagan. The ad centered on William Horton, a convicted murderer who fled custody after being released as part of a weekend furlough program supported by Bush’s Democratic opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Horton committed a violent rape while out of prison.
This may be the most desperate and vile ad since Willie Horton. Trump and Republicans don’t want to talk about the fact that they plan to repeal the ACA, gut Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid, and cut taxes even further for their donors, so they’ve resorted to fearmongering. https://t.co/xaXNThEOfb
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 31, 2018
You can watch the ad on President Trump’s Twitter feed here.