As top Republicans decry Donald Trump’s incendiary campaign ad as “sickening,” the Republican National Committee chair is assigning blame for it elsewhere: on Democrats.
This week, Trump released an ad focusing on an illegal immigrant who killed police officers in California. The ad falsely claimed that Democrats let him into the country — he was deported during Bill Clinton’s administration and re-entered during George W. Bush’s presidency — and attempted to show a migrant caravan as dangerous and violent. The ad has been called racist by major news outlets that normally avoid such definitive language and was blasted by Senator Jeff Flake as “sickening” as he called on other Republicans to denounce it.
But as Newsweek noted, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel has defended the ad during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s factually inaccurate and it’s racially incendiary,” Tapper said. “You don’t have any issue with that?”
But McDaniel pivoted to blame Democrats for what she said was failing to take action on immigration. “I have an issue with our immigration system that’s not being fixed,” she answered. “And the Democrats won’t work with the president and we have caravans coming.”
The interview grew contentious, with Tapper pointing out that the ad was incorrect and placed blame on Democrats when the immigrant had re-entered the country during the Bush administration. When Tapper pointed out that Republicans control both the House and Senate and would not need any Democrats to pass immigration reform, McDaniel said it is still Democrats who “should be fixing the immigration problem.”
The ad has been decried by the media as well, with CNN calling it racist and refusing to air it on the network. In an analysis from Stephen Collinson, the network said the ad represents “the latest example of the President’s willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides.”
The network also got into a bit of a tiff with Donald Trump Jr. after he slammed CNN for not airing the aid. The network’s corporate Twitter account responded that they would not air it because the ad was racist.
Donald Trump has also been criticized for his decision to send U.S. troops to the Mexican border in advance of the caravan’s arrival. Trump has called for between 10,000 and 15,000 troops to support Border Patrol, though critics have said that the caravan is still several weeks away from arriving and expected to be significantly smaller by the time it reaches the U.S. border.