President Donald Trump took to Twitter to share a new ad on Wednesday evening against allowing the migrant caravan from Central America to enter the United States. CNN and the Hollywood Reporter declared it “racist.”
The ad features Luis Bracamontes, an illegal alien who was convicted earlier this year for murdering two police officers in 2014 in California. In court, he laughed and shouted that he wanted to kill more. Several months later, he continued his outbursts in a sentencing hearing when victims of his many violent crimes testified against him, including a black driver named Anthony Holmes, whom he had shot five times while on his killing spree. Bracamontes specifically used a racial epithet when taunting Holmes, the Sacramento Bee reported at the time.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
The words “Democrats let him stay” appear over footage of Bracamontes, followed by several clips of the caravan, including video of migrants rushing a border gate and trying to force it open. The video also includes a Fox News interview in which one of the migrants admitted that he had previously been deported for attempted murder. The ad concludes as the words “Who else would Democrats let in?” appear superimposed on footage of the caravan.
The ad reinforces the themes of President Trump’s criticism of Democrats’ immigration policy, in which he has highlighted the security risks of failing to defend the border, and granting asylum to people who are not “refugees.”
The media, however, immediately branded the ad “racist.” The Hollywood Reporter published an article under the headline, “Trump Shares Racist Pro-GOP Ad for Midterms,” as if the term “racist” represented fact, not opinion.
What makes the ad racist, the Hollywood Reporter claimed, is it “draws comparisons between Central American immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S. and one man convicted of the murder of two policemen.” Moreover:
The spot was swiftly denounced on Wednesday by pundits who compared it to the 1988 “Willie Horton” campaign ad that supported then-candidate George Bush. Attacking challenger Michael Dukakis’ prison furlough program in Massachusetts while he was governor, the ad cherry-picked an incident in which convicted felon Willie Horton raped a woman while on furlough, and has been widely denounced as racist in years since.
CNN went further in an article titled, “Trump shocks with racist new ad days before midterms.” The article, labeled as “analysis,” called the ad “the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years.” It added: “The Trump campaign ad is the latest example of the President’s willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides; to embrace demagoguery to bolster his own political power and the cause of the Republican midterm campaign.” Like the Hollywood Reporter, CNN drew comparisons to the Willie Horton ad of 1988.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, “Campaign ad from Trump campaign blasted as racist,” though it was more circumspect, leaving that conclusion to Democratic Party officials and “Never Trump” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.