Some networks refused to air President Donald Trump’s race-baiting campaign video put out in the final stretch of the 2018 midterms. CNN, for example, refused to broadcast the full version of it. Eventually other networks — including Fox News — pulled the ad.
And Trump’s not happy about it.
The ad, created by Trump’s campaign committee, features footage of Luis Bracamontes, a twice-deported unauthorized immigrant who killed two California police officers in 2014. It ties him to the migrant caravan currently hundreds of miles away from the US-Mexico border and the Democratic Party. Political experts compared it to the infamously racist Willie Horton ad used by George H.W. Bush, with some even saying it was worse.
Trump then defended allegations that the ad is offensive by saying some reporters ask questions he finds offensive. The “I know you are by what am I” rhetorical tool is often employed by Trump, and this time was no different.
Trump’s ad was too racist for NBC, Facebook and … Fox News
NBC on Sunday aired the ad during a Sunday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, a program that garners massive ratings.
After a backlash, NBCUniversal Monday pulled the ad, in a statement saying that “after further review” the network recognizes “the sensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible.”
Fox News and Fox Business, which had run the ad about a dozen times, quickly did the same. “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” a spokesperson told CNN.
Facebook, which according to the New York Times had been running the ad targeted at voters in states such as Florida and Arizona, said it would drop the ad, too, because it “violates advertising policy against sensational content.” It can still be posted on Facebook, but not through paid ads. (According to CNN, Trump’s campaign committee had already spent somewhere between $20,000 and $80,000 on the ad buy.)
Trump responded how he usually does: blaming the media
Trump was asked about the matter on Monday by a reporter, who pointed out that many networks have declined to run the ad because of its racism.
“I don’t know about it. I mean, you’re telling me something I don’t know about. We have a lot of ads. And they certainly are effective, based on the numbers that we’re seeing,” Trump replied.
The reporter followed up, saying many people find it offensive, to which Trump responded, “Well, a lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of times — so, you know.”
Brad Parscale, Trump’s reelection campaign manager, also hit back on Twitter, saying that the outlets that had canceled the ad “stand with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY” instead of legal immigrants. (They don’t.)
Trump could have made his final pitch about the economy. Instead, he’s going with scaring people about immigration and race.
Trump has a strong economic case to be making right now: growth is strong, and unemployment is low. Politico reported on Sunday that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had called Trump over the weekend to encourage him to talk about the economy.
But Trump wants the topic to be immigration. For weeks, he’s been hyping up the migrant caravan from Central America that is hundreds of miles away and warning about an “invasion” of immigrants. At rallies, he says Democrats want open borders and will let a flood of criminals into the US.
It’s an effort to hype up his base — and, as Vox’s Tara Golshan pointed out, it might be doing the trick:
Trump’s message on immigration is largely based on lies and exaggerations, and this campaign ad is just the latest iteration.