Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is giving some of the most divisive proposals of his campaign a starring role in his first television ad — although the billionaire developer faced questions about the footage he chose to illustrate his arguments.
With the opening 2016 primary contest four weeks away, Trump is highlighting his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States — temporarily and with exceptions, he says — and to build a wall along the southern border.
Trump’s campaign says he plans to spend $2 million a week on the ad, which began airing across Iowa and New Hampshire.
The new ad features dark images of the San Bernardino shooters, who were Muslims, as well as body bags and explosions.
“The politicians can pretend it’s something else. But Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism.
"That’s why he’s calling for a shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on,” a narrator says.
Video footage later in the ad shows people apparently streaming freely across a border as a narrator says Trump will “stop illegal immigrants by building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for.”
The Trump campaign acknowledged that the border images were of a Spanish enclave in Morocco, not the US-Mexican border.
“I think it’s irrelevant,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor.
“So you can just take it any way you want, but it’s really merely a display of what a dumping ground is going to look like. And that’s what our country’s becoming.”
His campaign elaborated in a statement, saying the selection of footage was intended “to demonstrate the severe impact of an open border and the real threat Americans face if we do not immediately build a wall and stop illegal immigration”.
Former President Bill Clinton made his debut solo appearance on behalf of his wife’s 2016 presidential campaign in New Hampshire.
Clinton argued that the Democratic front-runner offers the best plan to restore “broadly shared prosperity.”
“I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job at a moment of great importance who was better qualified by knowledge, experience, and temperament to do what needs to be done now,” he told New Hampshire voters.
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