tags: Press Releases

Adam Laxalt’s Ugly Lies on Border and Fentanyl

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Washington, DC –  Nevada Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt’s new joint ad with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) attacking Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto over “dismantling border security” relies on a host of lies frequently repeated by the GOP, including around the issue of “lethal opioids” like fentanyl and the falsehood that President Biden and Democrats have ushered in open borders.

While “lethal opioids” like fentanyl are indeed a deadly serious matter facing Nevada and the country, the Laxalt ad and most GOP ads on the topic advance flat-out lies in their political exploitation of the issue. It’s another Republican attempt to distract attention away from issues that are hurting them, like abortion and access to guns, with racist scare tactics around crime and immigrants in the midterm homestretch. Here are a few of the lowlights and lies in the new Laxalt ad:

Advances lies around “lethal opioids” and the border: Over the weekend, CNN’s political fact checker Daniel Dale offered the following reminders:  

“One common Republican claim is that the U.S. has a ‘open border’ under Joe Biden. That is just not true…Republicans also keep citing the large quantities of fentanyl being seized at the border, but fentanyl being seized is more proof the border is not actually open. 

And here’s a critical point almost never mentioned in GOP talking points: the vast majority of the seizures happen at the legal ports of entry where cars and buses and trucks line up to enter. In the vast majority of the time, it is being brought in by U.S. citizens or legal residents. 

About 85 percent of the fentanyl seized at the Southwest border this fiscal year has been seized at legal ports, and the other 15 percent or so tends to be seized at Border Patrol checkpoints inside the U.S. not from migrants walking across. So, the image Republicans are trying to create is a migrant sneaking through the desert with a sack of drugs, that happens in some tiny percentage of cases, but it is certainly not the predominant story.”

Features Adam Laxalt with Brandon Judd – two voices helping elevate the vile “great replacement theory” that’s been linked to deadly violence: The Laxalt ad also features the candidate walking along the border alongside Brandon Judd, the National Border Patrol Council President who both is a frequent feature of GOP candidate ads and a leading peddler of white nationalist conspiracies around the “great replacement theory.” See here for a backgrounder on Brandon Judd and his role in the GOP growing embrace and mainstreaming of white nationalist conspiracies. 

That Laxalt would feel comfortable alongside Judd is no surprise, as Laxalt himself has voiced the same racist conspiracy theory. As the Nevada Current reported, Laxalt stated the following last Fall:

“It’s scary scary stuff — 200,000 people pouring over the border every single month … this is what the left wants. The left wants to radically transform this nation and they want to destroy the values that made this country a great nation. Our constitutional system, our families, our church communities, the conservative fabric of this nation. They know they need to get rid of that so that they can transform our country.”

According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director of America’s Voice:

“Adam Laxalt and Republicans across the country are intentionally peddling lies and dangerous disinformation that dehumanizes people and creates the conditions for racist political violence. Yes there are serious and urgent challenges around fentanyl. Yes, there are important discussions about managing the border in a safe, orderly and humane manner. But we need solutions, not scapegoats or ugly attempts from those peddling white nationalist conspiracies to distract voters with fear in the campaign homestretch.”