‘It’s sickening’: Trump shocks with racist ad
IN WHAT has been described as the most racially charged national political ad in three decades, US President Donald Trump has shared a video alleging Democrats were responsible for allowing convicted sociopaths into the US.
In the tweet, which is now pinned to the top of his social media feed for his millions of followers to see, it shows a clip of Luis Bracamontes, a twice-deported immigrant from Mexico sentenced to death in California for killing two police officers in 2014, smiling menacingly in court and expressing no remorse for his crimes.
The captioned reads: "Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!" It adds: "Democrats let him into our country … Democrats let him stay."
Mr Trump provides no evidence linking Democrats to Bracamontes.
The clip goes on to include scenes of a migrant "caravan", warning: "Who else would Democrats let in?"
As of Thursday night, the ad had been viewed more than 2.2 million times, drawing widespread condemnation.
Mr Trump, and his right-wing Republican base, have been criticised for being "racist", "hateful", "shameless", and for "fearmongering" ahead of the midterm elections in five days time.
"The President of the United States is working to shift the national conversation back to his base's most impassioned talking point ahead of the midterms … immigration," Fox40 news reporter Pedro Rivera tweeted.
"In this ad, essentially comparing the migrant caravan to Cop Killer Luis Bracamontes."
To no surprise, The President of the United States is working to shift the national conversation back to his base’s most impassioned talking point ahead of the midterms...immigration. In this ad, essentially comparing the migrant caravan to Cop Killer Luis Bracamontes. #Trump https://t.co/TdnfXT1z2d— Pedro Rivera (@PedroRiveraTV) November 1, 2018
The video is eerily reminiscent of the infamous 1988 "Willie Horton" ad used by supporters of the George HW Bush campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and condemned as racist.
Horton was a convicted murderer who committed rape and assault while on a weekend furlough program in 1987 in Massachusetts, which Mr Dukakis supported as the governor of Massachusetts.
The impact of the ad has been described as "devastating to Dukakis" and has since come to be known as the most racially problematic political campaign ad, as it was designed to appeal to white voters by playing on their stereotyped fears of African-Americans as criminals.
Scarily, Mr Trump's attack ad has been slammed as being even worse. Unlike the 1998 "Willie Horton" ad, which was financed and run by the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC) as supporters of the Bush campaign and not as a part of the official campaign, Mr Trump's Bracamontes ad bears the official endorsement of the leader of the Republican Party.
"Thirty years ago, George H.W. Bush released his infamous fearmongering, racist ad on Willie Horton," Eric Umansky, deputy managing editor of ProPublica, a US non-profit newsroom, tweeted.
"This Trump ad is worse. Far worse."